Stocks: Wednesday's review
Japan’s benchmark stock indexes fell the most in six months as escalating tension in the Middle East drove oil above $100 a barrel, reigniting concern energy costs will slow the global economic recovery.
Asahi Glass Co. lost 4.3 percent as higher crude prices sparked concern the glassmaker’s costs will rise. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, retreated 2.9 percent as speculation mounted turmoil in the Middle East will spread from Libya to Iran. Sharp Corp., a maker of flat-screen panels, led declines on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average after Morgan Stanley cut the company’s rating.
European stocks dropped for a second day amid concern that rising energy costs following revolts in the Middle East and North Africa will hurt the global economy.
Daimler AG led automakers lower, sliding 2.8 percent. Swiss Life Holding AG sank 3.3 percent after Switzerland’s biggest life insurer reported operating profit that missed analysts’ estimates. Celesio AG plunged 6.2 percent as DZ Bank AG recommended selling the drug wholesaler’s shares.
Crude for April delivery gained as much as 2 percent to $101.59 a barrel in electronic trading in New York as Libyan rebels braced for renewed attacks by Qaddafi loyalists and reports showed Iranian protesters clashed with security forces in Iran, the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
In Europe, producer-price inflation accelerated more than economists forecast in January as soaring energy costs added to the European Central Bank’s concerns that inflationary pressures are building. The ECB is due to meet tomorrow to make its monthly decision on interest rates.
U.S. stocks rose, rebounding from yesterday’s tumble, after companies added more jobs than forecast and Texas Instruments Inc. led a rally in chipmakers.
Texas Instruments rose 3.3 percent as JPMorgan Chase & Co. named the company a “top pick” among semiconductor stocks and raised its recommendation on the industry. Apple Inc. advanced 1.1 percent as Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs appeared at a company event in San Francisco, his first public appearance since taking medical leave in January. Yahoo! Inc. added 4 percent on plans to sell its stake in a Japanese joint venture.
A private report released before exchanges opened showed that companies in the U.S. added more workers in February than forecast, indicating the labor market may be strengthening. Employment increased by 217,000 last month after a revised 189,000 gain in January, according to figures from ADP Employer Services.