Stocks: Wednesday's review
Japanese stocks rose, sending the Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average to its highest close since March 11, as companies resumed production halted by an earthquake and tsunami and as a weaker yen boosted the outlook for export earnings.
The Nikkei 225 has dropped 5.1 percent this year, the biggest drop among indexes for the world’s largest equity markets.
Hitachi Ltd. soared 8.7 percent, the most in the Nikkei 225, after the Nikkei newspaper said the electronics maker expects to resume full production at its main plant next month.
Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s third-largest automaker by market value, gained 3.8 percent after saying it expects factories to return to normal by the end of June.
Toyota Motor Corp., which is the world’s biggest carmaker and gets about 70 percent of its revenue abroad, rose 2.3 percent.
IHI Corp., a maker of heavy machinery, climbed 6.4 percent to 200 yen after the company resumed partial operations at its No. 1 and No. 2 factories in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, where it produces aircraft parts and turbines.
Kyocera Corp., an electronics maker that gets more than half of its sales abroad, climbed 3.9 percent to 8,360 yen.
TDK Corp., the world’s No. 1 maker of disk drive heads, jumped 4.4 percent to 4,825 yen.
European stocks advanced for a sixth day, the longest winning streak since December, amid speculation the economy is strong enough to overcome Japan’s nuclear crisis.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) led mining companies higher as all 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained.
Vedanta Resources Plc (VED), the largest copper producer in India, rose 1.8 percent to 2,278 pence as Morgan Stanley said the shares have the potential to gain as much as 64 percent.
Stora Enso Oyj (STEAV), Europe’s largest paper maker, gained 1.7 percent to 8.24 euros after Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation on the stock to “overweight” from “equal weight.”
Bellway Plc (BWY) climbed 1.5 percent to 692.5 pence. The second- worst performing U.K. homebuilder in the past 12 months said first-half profit rose to 18.5 million pounds after the company sold more homes at higher prices.
Sonova Holding AG (SOON) tumbled 5.4 percent as the chief executive officer and chief financial officer resigned after an investigation into possible insider trading at the Swiss hearing-aid maker.
Dixons Retail Plc (DXNS) sank 11 percent after the U.K.’s largest consumer- electronics retailer said earnings will miss most estimates.
Stocks ended Wednesday with solid gains, as investors welcomed two reports on job growth.
Before the opening bell, one report showed that employers announced fewer planned job cuts in March, even as government sector layoffs mounted.
A second report showed private sector employment rose by 201,000 in March, according to payroll processor ADP (ADP, Fortune 500). The figure came in slightly below forecasts but remained above 200,000.
Investors look to the ADP report as a guide for what's coming in Friday's government report.
Energy: The energy sector pushed ahead after President Obama called for an increase in U.S. oil and ethanol production, to reduce the country's dependence on energy imports.
ConocoPhillips (COP, Fortune 500) surged 2.4%, Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500) rose 1.5% and Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500) gained 0.6%.
Natural gas stocks also continued their rally, as Obama renewed his push for alternative energy sources.
Shares of Chesapeake Energy (CHK, Fortune 500) and National Fuel Gas (NFG) each gained more than 3%.
Meanwhile, crude oil for May delivery slid 52 cents, to settle at $104.27 a barrel, after a government report showed U.S. crude inventories rose more than expected last week.
Companies: Shares of Cephalon (CEPH) surged nearly 28% after specialty pharmaceutical firm Valeant (VRX) launched a hostile bid for the U.S. drugmaker.
Shares of private equity firm Apollo Global (APO) fell 4.2% after the firm priced its initial public offering at $19 a share -- the top end of its expected range.
Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHU), the third-largest Internet company in China, started trading on the NYSE Wednesday, a day after pricing its initial public offering at $14.50 a share. Shares surged 135% to $33.54.