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16.03.2012 08:40

Stocks: Thursday’s review


Asian stocks rose a third day as Japanese exporters advanced after the dollar rose against the yen ahead of reports expected to show a strengthening U.S. economic recovery. Mining companies fell on lower metal prices.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday home prices remain far from reasonable and relaxing curbs could cause “chaos” in the market.

Nikkei 10,123.28 +72.76 +0.72%

Hang Seng 21,353.53 +45.64 +0.21%

S&P/ASX 200 4,277.77 -9.41 -0.22%

Shanghai Composite 2,373.77 -17.46 -0.73%  

Toyota rose 2.9 percent to 3,585 yen in Tokyo.

Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets more than 80 percent of its revenue overseas, increased 3.5 percent to 3,295 yen.

Ricoh rose 7.9 percent to 805 yen in Tokyo, the biggest gain on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Citigroup analyst Masahiro Shibano recommended investors buy the stock, saying profit may rebound next fiscal year.

European stocks climbed for a third day, extending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s highest level since July, as U.S. jobs and manufacturing data added to optimism the recovery in the world’s largest economy is gaining momentum.

The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits fell by 14,000 to 351,000 in the week ended March 10, Labor Department figures showed today. Claims reached the same level a month ago, the lowest since March 2008.

Manufacturing in the New York region expanded in March at the fastest pace since June 2010, while Philadelphia factory output grew the most in almost a year.

Gains in Europe were limited today as Fitch said Britain risks losing its top investment grade because of its limited ability to deal with shocks.

National benchmark indexes rose in 14 of the 18 western European markets. Germany’s DAX added 0.9 percent and France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.4 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.1 percent as Fitch Ratings said Britain risks losing its top credit grade.

H&M added 2.4 percent to 249.60 kronor after comparable sales advanced 2 percent in February from a year earlier. Same- store sales were expected to drop 1 percent, according to an SME Direkt poll of analysts.

Aixtron rallied 15 percent to 14.40 euros, the biggest gain since October 2008, as Deutsche Bank upgraded the maker of equipment for the semiconductor and lighting-technology industries to buy.

HeidelbergCement AG climbed 5.1 percent to 44.57 euros. The world’s third-largest maker of cement predicted operating profit and sales will rise this year on growth in Asia and Africa and a weaker increase in raw material and energy costs. Net income in 2011 increased 4.5 percent to 534 million euros.

Pernod-Ricard paced declining shares, falling 2.1 percent to 80.38 euros after Groupe Bruxelles Lambert sold 6.2 million shares for 80.60 euros each.

U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index above 1,400 for the first time in almost four years, as data showed manufacturing in the New York region unexpectedly increased and jobless claims declined.

Equities rose today as manufacturing in the New York region expanded in March at the fastest pace since June 2010. Claims for jobless benefits fell last week, matching the lowest level in four years, more evidence the labor market is improving. Separate data showed that the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index increased to 12.5 in March from 10.2 last month, beating economists’ estimates.

Dow   13,252.76   +58.66       +0.44%, Nasdaq   3,056.37    +15.64       +0.51%, S&P 500     1,402.60    +8.32  +0.60%

Bank of America (ВАС) rose the most in the Dow, adding 4.5 percent to $9.24. The KBW Bank Index rallied 2.7 percent as all of its 24 stocks advanced. The gauge has surged 8.8 percent in three days following dividend increases this week by banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Shares of the New York-based bank increased 2.6 percent to $44.70.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. gained 6.3 percent to $8.25. The second-largest maker of processors for personal computers was moved to buy from hold at Jefferies, which increased the 12- month price estimate to $10.50 from $7.

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) dropped 1.4 percent, the most in the Dow, to $19.91. The maker of equipment for computer networks agreed to buy NDS Group Ltd. in a deal valued at about $5 billion to add software used in next-generation video services.

Guess Inc. tumbled 10 percent, the most in the Russell 1000 Index, to $32.97. The clothing retailer forecast fiscal 2013 earnings of no more than $2.65 a share, below the average analyst estimate of $3.16 a share.

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