Stocks: Tuesday's review
Japanese stocks fell, dragging the Topix index down by the most in three weeks, after Tokyo Electric Power Co. began dumping radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station into the sea.
Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd. (1332), which fishes and produces seafood products, lost 4.9 percent. Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc. (1334), which sells seafood, dropped 2.5 percent. Tokyo Electric Power plunged to a 60-year low for the biggest drop on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest carmaker, fell 2.4 percent. Tokyo Electron Ltd. (8035), the world’s second- largest maker of semiconductor equipment, slumped 2.8 percent after a report showed global chip sales fell.
The Nikkei 225 declined 1.1 percent to 9,615.55 as of the close of trading in Tokyo, its biggest loss since March 23. The gauge has fallen 7.9 percent since the close on March 10, the day before Japan was hit by a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami.
European stocks climbed for a third day, led by technology companies, after Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) agreed to buy National Semiconductor Corp., fueling optimism that company spending will push shares higher.
STMicroelectronics NV (STM) and Infineon Technologies AG (IFX), Europe’s largest chipmakers, led gains on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Storebrand ASA (STB) rallied 4.5 percent as Morgan Stanley added the insurer’s shares to its best ideas list.
Stocks in Europe climbed even as a U.S. gauge of service industries fell, China raised interest rates and Portugal’s credit rating was cut at Moody’s Investors Service.
U.S. stocks rose for a third day as National Semiconductor Corp. (NSM) led chipmakers higher after Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) agreed to buy the company and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF)’s earnings forecast topped estimates.
National Semiconductor, which makes analog chips, soared 71 percent. Abercrombie & Fitch, the teen retailer, jumped 12 percent. Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) added at least 1.2 percent before their weightings in the Nasdaq-100 Index more than double. Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) rose 3.6 percent as gold surged to a record $1,455.50 an ounce. Google Inc. (GOOG) sank 2.9 percent as people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that the U.S. government is considering an antitrust probe.
The S&P 500 has risen 6 percent in 2011 through yesterday as government stimulus measures, corporate takeovers and higher- than-estimated earnings boosted investors’ optimism. Alcoa Inc. (AA) starts the earnings reporting season on April 11. The aluminum producer may post net income of $321 million in the first quarter, a 265 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
The S&P 500 had fallen as much as 6.4 percent from this year’s high in February amid concern that Japan’s nuclear crisis and uprisings in the Middle East and northern Africa would stifle global economic growth.