Stocks: Tuesday review
Japanese stocks fell, leading the Topix index to its biggest drop since September, as tension escalated in the Middle East and Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the country’s debt outlook.
Chiyoda Corp., an engineering company that gets almost half of its sales in the Middle East, sank 4.3 percent. Banks contributed the most to the Topix’s decline. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group fell 3.6 percent to 453 yen, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., the country’s second-largest publicly traded bank, slumped 4.5 percent to 3,050 yen.
Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan’s largest shipping line by sales, lost 2.8 percent. The price of crude oil surged to a two-year high, increasing energy costs for companies.
European stocks retreated for a third day as Libya cracked down on anti-government protests amid continuing political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, overshadowing a jump in U.S. consumer confidence.
Air France-KLM Group fell 3 percent as oil climbed to the highest price in more than two years. Informa Plc, the U.K. publisher of Lloyd’s List, lost 2.9 percent after earnings declined. Jyske Bank A/S advanced 7.5 percent after reporting profit that beat analysts’ estimates. Technical problems forced a 6 1/2-hour delay to the start of trading in Italy today.
U.S. stocks tumbled, dragging the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down from its highest level since June 2008, as violence escalated in Libya and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported sales that trailed its own forecasts.
Wal-Mart sank 3.4 percent. Bank of America Corp. slid 3.7 percent after almost doubling a writedown for its credit-card unit to $20.3 billion. United Continental Holdings Inc. and AMR Corp. retreated more than 6.5 percent amid investor concern that rising crude prices may hurt airline earnings. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. rallied at least 1.3 percent as oil touched the highest price in more than two years.