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03.08.2012 07:22

Stocks: Thursday’s review

Asian stocks outside Japan fell, with the regional benchmark index set to drop for a second day, as investors await a policy announcement by the European Central Bank after the Federal Reserve refrained from adding stimulus to the U.S. economy. The European Central Bank is scheduled to make a policy announcement today, with President Mario Draghi pledging policy makers will do whatever is needed to preserve the euro. Most investors in Asia, the Americas and Europe expect the ECB will engage in sovereign-bond purchases in support of Spain and Italy, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a note yesterday, citing a survey of 410 people.

Nikkei 225 8,653.18 +11.33 +0.13%
S&P/ASX 200 4,269.5 +6.74 +0.16%
Shanghai Composite 2,111.41 -11.95 -0.56%
Samsung Electronics Co., which gets 39 percent of its sales in Europe and America, lost 2 percent.
Toyota Motor Corp., Asia’s biggest carmaker by market value, rose 2.5 percent in Tokyo after its U.S. sales gained 26 percent in July.
Fiber maker Teijin Ltd. slumped 8.8 percent in Tokyo after cutting its operating profit forecast.

European stocks declined, erasing earlier gains, as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s comments disappointed investors seeking more definitive measures to stimulate the region’s economy.
Draghi signaled that the ECB will join forces with governments to buy sovereign bonds. Still, he didn’t give details on how such a program would work, saying that they will be fleshed out in coming weeks.
Bond yields that throw into question the future of the euro are “unacceptable” and “need to be addressed in a fundamental manner,” he also said at a press conference in Frankfurt today after the ECB kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.75 percent.
The Bank of England maintained its current bond-buying program today as policy makers wait to assess the impact of the latest stimulus and their new lending program to end the recession.
National benchmark indexes fell in 15 of the 18 western European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.9 percent, France’s CAC 40 Index declined 2.7 percent and Germany’s DAX Index retreated 2.2 percent.
An index of banking shares was the worst-performing industry group on the Stoxx 600. Santander plunged 6.7 percent to 4.63 euros and Deutsche Bank slid 5.3 percent to 23.21 euros. Credit Agricole SA slumped 8 percent to 3.28 euros.
Veolia plunged 12 percent to 8.15 euros, the biggest drop in a year. First-half results were hurt by writedowns in Italy, the economic slowdown and a “contractual erosion” at Veolia’s water division in France, the Paris-based company said. Veolia plans to sell 5 billion euros of assets and reduce investment by 500 million euros this year and next.

U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down for a fourth straight day, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi failed to reassure investors on immediate efforts to bolster the economy.
Stocks joined a global slump as Draghi signaled the ECB intends to join forces with governments to buy bonds in sufficient quantities to ease the region’s debt crisis, while conceding that Germany’s Bundesbank has reservations about the plan. ECB officials are working on the plan and details will be fleshed out in coming weeks, he said after keeping the benchmark interest rate on hold at 0.75 percent.
Yesterday, the American central bank also failed to bolster confidence. The Federal Reserve’s pledge to provide additional support for the economy disappointed investors anticipating a more definitive sign of further monetary easing. The S&P 500 rose as much as 29 percent from its October 2011 low amid bets the central bank would add further economic stimulus.
Tomorrow’s jobs report may provide more direction toward the Fed’s next steps to ensure the recovery is not derailed. Payrolls rose by 100,000 after an 80,000 gain in June and the unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent. Data today showed orders placed with U.S. factories unexpectedly fell and jobless claims rose less than forecast.

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