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30.04.2012 08:20

Stocks: Week’s review


Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index snapping a two-day gain, as a cut in Spain’s credit rating overshadowed better-than-expected earnings by companies including Samsung Electronics Co. and the Bank of Japan’s move to expand economic stimulus.

Nikkei 225 9,520.89 -40.94 -0.43%

Hang Seng 20,722.75 -86.96 -0.42%

S&P/ASX 200 4,362.1 -13.10 -0.30%

Shanghai Composite 2,396.32 -8.38 -0.35%

Nippon Sheet Glass Co., which depends on Europe for about 39 percent of its sales, fell 1.9 percent in Tokyo.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest lender, slid 0.3 percent, erasing gains of as much as 3.1 percent immediately after the BOJ statement was released.

Nintendo Co. sank 5.5 percent as the Japanese maker of Wii game consoles forecast profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

Samsung Electronics, Asia’s largest maker of consumer electronics, climbed 2.5 percent in Seoul.

European stocks climbed for a fourth day, for the longest stretch of gains in six weeks, as results from Vinci SA to Sandvik AB topped estimates, outweighing slower-than-forecast U.S. economic growth.

Spain’s sovereign credit rating was cut for the second time this year by Standard & Poor’s on concern that the country will have to provide further fiscal support to banks as the economy contracts. S&P lowered the long-term grade to BBB+ from A, with a negative outlook and reduced the short-term rating to A-2 from A-1.

Italy sold 5.95 billion euros ($7.9 billion) of bonds today, less than the maximum for the auction, as the country paid 60 basis points more than a month ago to sell 10-year debt.

National benchmark indexes gained in 14 of the 18 western- European markets. France’s CAC 40 rose 1.1 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 increased 0.5 percent and Germany’s DAX added 0.9 percent.

Vinci jumped 4.2 percent to 35.56 euros after posting a 6 percent increase in the first-quarter sales, beating estimates. The construction company reported a revenue of 8.1 billion euros, compared with analysts’ forecasts for 7.64 billion euros.

CRH Plc, the world’s second-biggest building-materials maker, gained 3.9 percent to 1,268 pence. The stock was raised to overweight, the equivalent of buy, from underweight at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Sandvik advanced 12 percent to 104 kronor, the biggest jump since November 2008. The company reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates and posted record order intake as demand grew in the Americas.

Nobel Biocare, the world’s second-biggest dental implant maker, rose 4.2 percent to 11.15 Swiss francs after it said first-quarter profit rose 9.5 percent on growth in North America as Europe continued to falter along with the economy.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index capped the best week in a month, as retailers surged to a record, after improving corporate earnings and consumer confidence tempered lower-than-forecast economic growth.

Equities rose even after data showed the U.S. economy expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter, less than the 2.5 percent increase forecast by economists. Confidence among U.S. consumers climbed in April to the highest level in a year, according to a separate report.

Dow 13,228 +24 +0.18%, Nasdaq 3,069 +19 +0.61%, S&P 500 1,403 +3 +0.24%

Amazon surged 16 percent, the biggest advance since October 2009, to $226.85. The company posted earnings-per-share that quadrupled the average analyst estimate. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is looking to add customers by pouring money into new versions of the Kindle and warehouses that are equipped to send out products faster.

Expedia soared 24 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $40.31. “Gross bookings and revenue growth were again driven by strength in our hotel business with global room-nights growing 24 percent, a nice acceleration from the 19 percent we saw for the fourth quarter,” Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s chief executive officer, said on a conference call yesterday.

Highest Since 1997

Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) slumped 3.6 percent to $64.44 for the biggest loss in the Dow. The world’s largest consumer-products company reduced its full-year earnings forecast amid higher costs for raw materials.

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