Stocks: Wednesday's review
Japanese stocks fell, with banks leading declines as Tokyo Electric Power Co. dropped, and on concern about the outlook for company profits.
Tokyo Electric Power, operator of the nuclear power plant damaged by the March 11 earthquake and also known as Tepco, slumped 6.9 percent, the biggest decline on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316), whose banking unit is the sixth-largest shareholder in Tepco, fell 2 percent as lenders led decreases on the Topix index. Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc. (1334), which sells seafood, advanced 2.6 percent after Tepco said it stopped highly radioactive water leaking into the sea from a pit near one of its reactors.
European stocks advanced, rebounding from earlier losses, as banks gained after Commerzbank AG (CBK) and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP) announced capital increases and German factory orders rose more than forecast.
ThyssenKrupp AG (TKA) and BASF SE (BAS) climbed as German factory orders rose in February at almost five times the pace that economists had predicted. Commerzbank jumped 1.9 percent as it detailed plans to repay government aid and said operating profit is “above plan.” Intesa Sanpaolo surged 5.4 percent as Italy’s second-biggest bank gave details of its expected capital increase.
U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to an almost three-year high, as a rally in technology shares overshadowed concern that a budget impasse in Congress will shut down the government.
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) rallied 4.9 percent on speculation the maker of networking equipment will sell or spin off its consumer business. Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) added 3 percent as Oppenheimer & Co. raised its rating for the maker of chips for television set-top boxes. Monsanto Co. (MON) slumped 4.6 percent as the largest seed company forecast profit that missed estimates.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2 percent to 1,334.67 at 2:17 p.m. The benchmark gauge rose as high as 1,339.38, near 1,343.01, its closing high for the rally since March 2009. The Dow average advanced 27.4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,421.3, the highest level on a closing basis since June 2008.