Stocks: Wednesday's review
Japanese stocks gained for a second day after a report showed U.S. retail sales were better than forecast, boosting the outlook for exporters.
Nissan Motor Co., a carmaker that earns about a third of its revenue in North America, gained 0.8 percent.
Hino Motors Ltd. (7205), a maker of buses and trucks, climbed 4.4 percent after it forecast a return to profit and said it restored production to normal levels on a parts-supply recovery.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, soared 32 percent, extending yesterday’s record gain after the bourse clamped down on short-selling of the shares.
European stocks fell for the first time this week amid concern that divisions between European officials may delay a second rescue plan for Greece and as a gauge of manufacturing in the New York area unexpectedly sank.
National Bank of Greece SA (ETE) tumbled the most in three months.
BNP Paribas SA, Societe Generale (GLE) SA and Credit Agricole SA (ACA), France’s biggest lenders, declined after Moody’s Investors Service placed their credit ratings on review to scrutinize their holdings of Greek debt.
Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) dropped 2.6 percent after Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer reported sales figures.
BNP Paribas (BNP) fell 2.5 percent to 51.30 euros, Societe Generale lost 2.6 percent to 38.78 euros and Credit Agricole slid 2.5 percent to 9.90 euros.
Moody’s placed the three banks’ ratings on review that will focus on their holdings of Greek public and private debt “and the potential for inconsistency between the impacts of a possible Greek default or restructuring and current rating levels,” the ratings company said.
Banco Santander SA (SAN), Europe’s second-largest bank, fell 3 percent to 7.62 euros as the Spanish central bank called for Spain’s 17 regions help control public finances. Italy’s Banco Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna Scrl plunged 6.7 percent to 7.27 euros and Banco Comercial Portugues SA (BCP) lost 6.1 percent to 41.3 euro cents.
U.S. stocks finished sharply lower Wednesday, after gloomy manufacturing data and renewed fears aboout Greece's debt problems sparked a sell-off.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) dropped 179 points, or 1.5%, with all 30 of blue-chip index's stocks trading lower. Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) were among the biggest laggards.
Other financial stocks followed suit, with shares of Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) and Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) down about 2%.
The S&P 500 (SPX) slipped 22 points, or 1.7%, with a 13% drop in shares of Owens-Illinois (OI, Fortune 500) leading the decline. The glass container maker cut its earnings guidance, citing rising manufacturing costs.
The Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost 47 points, or 1.8%. Baidu (BIDU) was among the worst performers on the tech-heavy index, with shares down almost 5%.
Economy: Consumer inflation picked up more than expected last month, with growth driven by increased food prices, the government reported Wednesday.
The Labor Department's consumer price index rose 0.2% in May. Economists polled by Briefing.com expected consumer inflation ticked up by 0.1% in May, down from the 0.4% rise in the previous month.
Meanwhile, the Empire State manufacturing index declined to a reading of negative 7.8, while economists were forecasting a reading of plus 10.
Companies: Shares of Carnival (CCL) slipped 3% after the cruise-line operator lowered its fiscal 2011 earnings outlook earlier this week -- leading some analysts to cut their price targets for the company.
Scotts Miracle Gro (SMG) cut its full-year forecast as well, sending shares of the lawn-care product maker 6% lower. The company said continued bad weather has led to lower consumer demand.
Internet radio site Pandora began trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "P." Shares of Pandora (P), which priced its initial public offering at $16 a share, closed up 9%.
Shares of Ford (F, Fortune 500) fell 2% after the auto maker's vice president and controller Bob Shanks suggested that second-quarter profit will come in below consensus estimates during remarks at an investor conference.