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12.04.2012 07:10

Stocks: Wednesday’s review



Asian stocks slipped, with the benchmark index headed for its longest losing streak since August, as Spanish bond yields surged closer to levels that prompted other European countries to seek bailouts.


Nikkei 225 9,458.74 -79.28 -0.83%

Hang Seng 20,121.71 -234.53 -1.15%

S&P/ASX 200 4,246.13 -46.14 -1.07%

Shanghai Composite 2,308.92 +3.06 +0.13%

Esprit Holdings Ltd., a clothier that depends on Europe for about 80 percent of sales, fell 3.1 percent in Hong Kong.

China Shipping Development Co. slumped 8.6 percent after the commodities carrier said it may post a first-quarter loss on lower cargo rates.

Sony Corp. and Sharp Corp., Japan’s biggest makers of liquid-crystal-display televisions, dropped more than 3 percent after posting record losses amid declining TV sales and a stronger yen.


European stocks gained, rebounding from a two-month low, as banks and automakers advanced and Spain’s prime minister said the country wouldn’t need a bailout.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Spain faces a “huge” task generating jobs and growth as it looks to rein in its budget deficit. Addressing lawmakers of his People’s Party in Madrid today, he also said he wants to make it “as clear as day” that Spain won’t need a bailout.

Spain’s 10-year borrowing costs have jumped more than 1 percentage point since March 2, when Rajoy announced that the country will miss its 2012 budget-deficit goal approved by the European Union. European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure triggered speculation that the bank will revive its bond purchase program to lower Spain’s borrowing costs.

FTSE 100 5,634.74 +39.19 +0.70%, CAC 40 3,237.69 +20.09 +0.62%, DAX 6,674.73 +68.30 +1.03%

Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, added 2.3 percent to 34.48 euros. Barclays Plc gained 2.8 percent to 212.1 pence. Italian banks gained, with UniCredit, the country’s biggest bank, adding 5.5 percent to 3.21 euros after falling 8.1 percent yesterday. Intesa Sanpaolo SpA also rose 5.5 percent to 1.20 euros. Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl gained 5.9 percent to 34.8 euro cents.

Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest bank, added 2 percent to 5.30 euros, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA rose 3.8 percent to 5.60 euros. BBVA was raised to buy from hold at Deutsche Bank.

Preferred shares of Volkswagen added 3 percent to 128.80 euros, after four days of losses. Europe’s largest carmaker said first-quarter auto sales rose 10.5 percent to 1.36 million units. Daimler AG added 1.2 percent to 41.31 euros. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the world’s largest maker of luxury vehicles, gained 2.5 percent to 66.71 euros.

Norsk Hydro, a European aluminum producer, advanced 2.2 percent to 29.95 kroner after Alcoa Inc. (AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, reported an unexpected first-quarter profit after orders rose and it closed higher-cost smelting capacity.

Givaudan, the Swiss maker of flavors and fragrances, rose 3.7 percent to 894.50 francs. The company reported improved first-quarter sales as it continued to pass on the higher cost of raw materials including vanilla and citrus oils with increased pricing.

Nokia tumbled 14 percent to 3.27 euros, its lowest level since 1997, after the company cut its profit forecast for its handset division. The first-quarter operating margin for the devices and services business was probably minus 3 percent based on the non-IFRS accounting standard, Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said in a statement today.


U.S. stocks advanced, halting a five-day decline for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, after Alcoa (AA) Inc. reported an unexpected first-quarter profit.

Today’s gain extended this year’s rally in the S&P 500 to 8.8 percent as investors bought stocks amid better-than- estimated economic and corporate data. While S&P 500 per-share profit growth slowed to 0.8 percent during the first three months of the year from 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter, it will accelerate to 8.3 percent during all of 2012, according to analyst estimates.

On top of earnings data, investors also watched the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book business survey today, published two weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee meets to set monetary policy. The Fed said the economy maintained its expansion in all 12 of its regions as manufacturing, hiring and retail sales showed signs of strength in the face of higher fuel prices.

Dow 12,805.39     +89.46 +0.70%, Nasdaq      3,016.46       +25.24 +0.84%, S&P 500   1,368.71         +10.12 +0.74%

Alcoa (АА) climbed 6.2 percent to $9.90. The earnings were “driven by higher-than-expected profitability from every operating segment,” Brian Yu, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. (C) in San Francisco, said in a note. “Good cost control likely played a major role.” The stock dropped 48 percent in the 12 months through yesterday, the biggest decline in the Dow.

Financial shares had the biggest gain in the S&P 500 among 10 industries today, rallying 1.6 percent. Bank of America (ВАС) rose 3.8 percent to $8.86. JPMorgan (JPM) jumped 2.4 percent to $44.01.

A measure of 11 homebuilders in S&P indexes jumped 4.8 percent as Wells Fargo & Co. said a survey of sales managers showed 63 percent of the respondents reported better-than-expected orders. Homebuilder PulteGroup Inc. advanced 9.1 percent to $8.39.

Owens-Illinois Inc. rose 6.9 percent to $23.52. The glass- bottle maker said first-quarter earnings will rise more than 35 percent from a year earlier on higher prices and lower costs.

Computer Sciences Corp. fell 2.8 percent to $27.39. The technology contractor for governments and companies said earnings excluding certain costs in the quarter ended March 30 were 19 cents to 21 cents a share. Analysts predicted 97 cents.


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