Stocks: Tuesday's review
Japanese stocks fell the most in almost a month after the International Monetary Fund cut the economic growth forecast for the country and strong aftershocks continued to shake Tokyo following a record quake and tsunami.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. tumbled the most on the Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average after the utility said radiation leaks from reactors crippled by last month’s disaster may eventually exceed those from Chernobyl.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co. fell after SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. said supply disruptions may reduce profits at the carmakers by billions of dollars.
Inpex Corp. (1605), the country’s No. 1 energy explorer, slumped 5.2 percent as oil prices dropped.
Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (1662), the second-biggest oil driller, dropped 3.5 percent to 4,010 yen.
Shimadzu, which makes measuring instruments and precision tools, dropped 4 percent to 670 yen after Mizuho Securities cut the company’s investment rating to “neutral” from “outperform,” saying last month’s earthquake will likely slow demand for measuring equipment.
European stocks fell the most in four weeks as Tokyo Electric Power Co. said its earthquake-hit nuclear power plant may release more radiation than Chernobyl and Alcoa Inc. (AA) posted sales that missed analysts’ estimates.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s largest mining company, led mining stocks lower as metal prices fell.
BHP declined 3.3 percent to 2,544 pence and Rio Tinto slipped 2.8 percent to 4,403 pence. Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ), Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer, tumbled 5 percent to 1,419 pence. Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. sank 4.3 percent to 929.5 pence. Fresnillo Plc (FRES), the world’s largest primary silver producer, lost 5.1 percent to 1,576 pence.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and BP Plc dropped as a gauge of European oil companies sank the most in 11 months.
Delta Lloyd NV (DL) dropped 7.6 percent, the largest decline since its initial public offering in 2009.
Game Group Plc (GMG) sank 8.3 percent after UBS AG cut its recommendation on the shares.
Economy: The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict developments six months in advance, declined to 7.6 from 14.1 in March. Economists had predicted a drop to 11.3, according to the median of 36 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
U.S. stocks remained under pressure Tuesday afternoon, as a 3% drop in oil prices sparked a sell-off in energy stocks and Alcoa continued to weigh down the Dow.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) dropped 91 points, or 0.7%, dragged down by a more than 6% drop in Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500)'s stock. The aluminum giant reported disappointing sales late Monday.
Energy companies also weighed on markets, as oil prices retreated more than 3% to $106.25 a barrel following a Goldman Sachs forecast for a $20-a-barrel drop in crude prices this spring. Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500) and Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500) were big laggards on the Dow.
Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD), Nabors Industries (NBR), Denbury Resources (DNR), Range Resources (RRC) and National Oilwell Varco (NOV, Fortune 500) pressured the S&P 500 (SPX), which slipped 7 points, or 0.5%.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP) lost 21 points, or 0.8%, as chipmakers such as Broadcom (BRCM, Fortune 500) and Micron Technology (MU, Fortune 500) lost ground amid global growth concerns.
Economy: The Commerce Department released data on the U.S. trade balance for February, showing that the deficit narrowed to $45.8 billion, the gap was slightly more than expected.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected the report to show the trade deficit narrowed slightly to $45.7 billion, down from $46.3 billion in January.