Stocks: Thursday's review
Japanese stocks rose, driving benchmark indexes to one-week highs, on the outlook for higher earnings and after the U.S. Federal Reserve maintained efforts to stimulate the world’s biggest economy.
Fanuc Corp., Japan’s largest maker of industrial robots, jumped 4.6 percent after saying profit increased. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., the country’s largest maker of heavy machinery, gained 4 percent after the Nikkei newspaper said earnings may exceed forecasts. Marubeni Corp., a trading company, rallied 4.3 percent after oil and metal prices increased.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.7 percent to 10,478.66 as of the close of trading in Tokyo. The broader Topix index gained 0.8 percent to 929.66, with more than twice as many advancing as declining. Both gauges climbed to their highest closing levels since Jan. 19.
The Topix has increased 3.4 percent this year and stocks in the index are valued at 16 times estimated earnings on average, near the highest level since August.
European stocks rose for a second day after the Federal Reserve maintained its stimulus plans, overshadowing the first downgrade of Japan’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s in nine years.
Software AG jumped 7.3 percent after reporting profit that beat analysts’ estimates and saying it aims to grow large enough to join Germany’s benchmark DAX Index. Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer, gained 3.8 percent. Novartis AG lost 2.4 percent after net income declined. Hennes & Mauritz AB sank 7.3 percent as results missed analysts’ estimates.
The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2 percent to 282.88 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London. Equities advanced yesterday ahead of the policy announcement from the Fed on speculation the central bank would continue to support the recovery even as growth accelerates. The Stoxx 600 has climbed 2.6 percent this year amid better-than-forecast economic reports and speculation that European leaders will increase their efforts to contain the region’s sovereign-debt crisis.
U.S. stocks rose yesterday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 12,000 for the first time since June 2008, after the Fed left its benchmark interest rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent, where it’s been since December 2008, and retained a pledge in place since March 2009 to keep it “exceptionally low” for an “extended period.”
U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses, a day after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index completed its fourth straight advance, as pending home sales and Qualcomm Inc.’s forecast beat projections, offsetting Japan’s credit downgrade and higher-than-estimated jobless claims.
Qualcomm rose 6 percent as the biggest maker of mobile- phone chips benefited from more sales of devices that browse the Internet. Caterpillar Inc. added 1.5 percent, while Netflix Inc. surged 15 percent after profit topped projections. AT&T Inc. lost 3 percent as sales missed analysts’ estimates. Procter & Gamble Co. dropped the most in more than five months as its profit forecast fell short of some analysts’ projections.
The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 1,298.99 at 1:46 p.m. in New York after falling 0.2 percent earlier. The index gained 1.3 percent during the previous four days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 12.30 points, or 0.1 percent, to 11,997.74.