Stocks: Tuesday's review
Japan's Nikkei stock average edged up to log a 10-month closing high on Tuesday after Chinese inflation data helped ease concerns that the country will have to tighten monetary policy more aggressively.
It was a second straight day of gains for the Nikkei, which has climbed some 17 percent since November when foreigners began snapping up lagging Tokyo stocks, with recent momentum coming from a big shift in market focus to developed economies from emerging ones.
Also on Tuesday, the Bank of Japan raised its assessment of the economy to say it is gradually emerging from a slowdown, further signalling that no imminent monetary easing is on the horizon. It kept rates steady as widely expected.
Notable gainers included shares of Japan's No. 3 mobile phone operator Softbank Corp, which jumped on an agreement to partner with China Mobile, Vodafone (VOD.L) and others to promote a next generation standard.
European stocks rose for a third day, sending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to its highest level since September 2008, as companies from Barclays Plc to Danone posted results that beat analysts’ estimates.
Barclays, Britain’s third-largest bank, climbed 5.8 percent. UniCredit SpA led Italian stocks higher. Danone, the world’s biggest yogurt maker, advanced 3.3 percent. Deutsche Boerse AG fell as the exchange operator agreed to combine with NYSE Euronext. Rio Tinto Group, the third-largest mining company, paced mining stocks lower.
Deutsche Boerse AG lost 2.4 percent to 59.85 euros. The operator of the Frankfurt bourse and NYSE Euronext said they will combine, creating the world’s largest owner of equities and derivatives markets. London Stock Exchange Group Plc, which last week agreed to buy Canada’s TMX Group Inc., slid 3.2 percent to 900 pence.
Rio Tinto fell 2.8 percent to 4,550 pence. Kazakhmys Plc, Kazakhstan’s biggest copper miner, lost 2.6 percent to 1,538 pence. A gauge of basic-resource companies on the Stoxx 600 slipped 1.8 percent, the worst performance out of 19 industry groups.
U.S. stocks retreated, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slumped from a 32-month high, after reports showed retail sales increased less than forecast last month and prices of imported goods climbed.
Exxon Mobil Corp. dropped 1.9 percent, leading the declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Monsanto Co. slid 3.3 percent as billionaire investor George Soros’s hedge fund cut its stake in the world’s largest seed company. JDS Uniphase Corp., the biggest network-analysis company in the U.S., and Netflix Inc., a DVD-rental company, decreased at least 3.2 percent after their stock recommendations were cut.
The S&P 500 gained 97 percent from a 12-year low in March 2009 through yesterday amid government stimulus measures and higher-than-estimated corporate profits. The advance has pushed the S&P 500 to 15.9 times the reported operating earnings of its companies on Feb. 11, the highest valuation since June. Earnings-per-share have topped analysts’ estimates at about 73 percent of the 359 companies in the S&P 500 that reported results since Jan. 10.