Stocks: Weekly review
Asian stocks declined, with the regional benchmark index erasing gains for the year, as rising jobless claims and declining consumer confidence in the U.S. stoked concern the recovery in world’s biggest economy is weakening.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.9 percent to 137.54 as of 7:39 p.m. in Tokyo, set for its biggest drop since April 19. About three stocks fell for every two that rose. The measure is heading for a 1.5 percent decline this week after central banks from India to the Philippines raised interest rates and U.S. reports showed companies added fewer jobs than estimated in April and service industries expanded at the slowest pace in eight months.
European stocks retreated for the first week in three as energy and mining companies tumbled with commodities, overshadowing a bigger-than-forecast increase in U.S. payrolls.
Fresnillo Plc, the world’s biggest primary silver producer, slumped 12 percent as the precious metal had the largest weekly drop in more than 30 years. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, sank 4.2 percent as crude suffered its biggest weekly retreat in a year. Lloyds Banking Group Plc plunged 8.9 percent after reporting a loss.
The Stoxx 600 dropped 0.9 percent to 281.33 this week, paring its 2011 advance to 2 percent. The measure closed at a two-month high on May 2 as President Barack Obama said U.S. forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, before sliding 2.2 percent over the following three days.
European shares pared their weekly decline today as U.S. Labor Department figures showed the world’s biggest economy added more jobs than forecast. Payrolls increased by 244,000 workers last month, the biggest gain since May 2010. Private hiring surged by 268,000 in April, the most since February 2006.
Economic data earlier in the week had been less positive. April reports from the Institute for Supply Management released on May 2 and May 4 said U.S. manufacturing cooled and the nation’s service industries expanded at the slowest pace in eight months.
In China, a manufacturing index for last month fell after the government raised interest rates and bank reserve requirements and allowed gains in the yuan to pick up. Factory orders in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, unexpectedly dropped in March, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said.
Selling swept commodity markets this week as investors sold positions following gains of more than 23 percent in 2011 through April 29 by silver, oil, gasoline, coffee and cotton. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities sank 10 percent this week.
U.S. stocks pared gains, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index headed for its biggest weekly loss since March, as concern about a Greek debt restructuring offset optimism from a stronger-than-forecast growth in jobs.
Stocks trimmed gains after two people familiar with the situation said European finance officials are meeting to discuss restructuring Greek debt.
The S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to 1,338.64 at 3:07 p.m. in New York, after earlier rallying as much as 1.4 percent. The benchmark gauge had dropped 2.1 percent this week through yesterday amid a commodity slump.
Payrolls increased by 244,000 workers last month, the biggest gain since May 2010, after a revised 221,000 gain the prior month, the Labor Department said. Economists projected an April rise of 185,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Employment excluding government jobs jumped the most in five years. The jobless rate rose to 9 percent, the first increase since November.