Stocks: Thursday's review
Japanese stocks rose the most in more than three weeks, driven by commodity companies, after oil and copper prices increased and the yen weakened.
Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (1662) jumped 4.9 percent after crude oil prices rose to the highest level since May 10 and a brokerage raised its rating on the driller.
Larger rival Inpex Corp. (1605) advanced 3.1 percent to 565,000 yen.
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., which develops and mines non-ferrous metals, increased 2 percent to 1,294 yen.
Canon Inc. (7751), the world’s No. 1 camera maker, climbed 5.8 percent on a plan to buy back shares.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest carmaker, advanced 1.2 percent after Deutsche Bank AG reiterated its “buy” rating on the company, citing lower sales incentives.
Ricoh Co., an office equipment maker, rose 4.1 percent to 885 yen. The company said it plans to cut about 9 percent of its workforce over the next three years to revive profit growth amid falling sales.
Most European stocks retreated after the head of the group of euro-area finance ministers said the International Monetary Fund may not release its portion of an aid payment to Greece next month.
UniCredit SpA (UCG), Italy’s biggest bank, and Banco Espirito Santo SA (BES), Portugal’s largest by market value, both lost more than 2 percent.
Burberry Group Plc (BRBY), the U.K.’s biggest luxury retailer, tumbled 4.6 percent.
Man Group Plc (EMG) jumped 2.5 percent after the world’s biggest publicly traded hedge fund manager said profit fell less than it had previously forecast and client assets increased.
European stocks consolidated their losses as Jean-Claude Juncker, who leads the euro area’s group of finance ministers, said that the IMF may withhold its 3.3 billion-euro ($4.7 billion) contribution to the 12 billion-euro payment that Greece had expected to receive next month.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the largest wind-turbine manufacturer, slumped 5.8 percent to 145.60 kroner.
SIG Plc (SHI) sank 2.2 percent to 148.1 pence after BofA Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the shares to “underperform” from “neutral.”
Bayer AG (BAYN) fell 1.9 percent to 54.71 euros after UBS AG (UBSN) cut its recommendation on the maker of aspirins to “neutral” from “buy,” citing valuation and “less positively skewed” near- term catalysts for the company’s Xarelto blood-thinner.
Antofagasta Plc (ANTO), the copper producer controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, advanced 3.5 percent to 1,258 pence after saying first-quarter profit rose 30 percent as output grew and prices climbed to a record.
Stocks edged higher Thursday as momentum in the technology sector offset disappointing reports on economic growth and the labor market.
Technology shares helped offset broader market losses, with technology blue chip Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) rising 2% and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, Fortune 500) gaining 1.5%.
Microsoft shares were higher after large shareholder David Einhorn called for CEO Steve Ballmer to step down.
Among other tech names, NetApp (NTAP) shares jumped 7% after the data storage company reported strong quarterly results late Wednesday and issued an upbeat outlook for the current quarter.
The biggest decliners among the blue chips were Merck (MRK, Fortune 500) and Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500), which were both down roughly 1%.
Economy: Evidence of a weaker economy was prevalent in two economic reports released Thursday morning.
The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefit claims remained above 400,000 for the seventh week in a row. Additionally, the government's revised reading on first-quarter growth domestic product remained at 1.8%. Economists expected GDP to bump up to 2%.
Companies: Shares of Tiffany & Co. (TIF) rose more than 8.5%, after the luxury jeweler reported a 12% jump in sales. The company also hiked its quarterly dividend payment to 29 cents per share from 25 cents.
Signet Jewelers (SIG) also fared well, with its stock rising 5%. The retailer, which operates Kay Jewelers, Jared, The Galleria Of Jewelry and chains in the U.K., got a big boost from U.S. sales in its latest quarter.
Shares of MasterCard (MA, Fortune 500) rose 3%, following a joint announcement by Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) -- along with MasterCard and Sprint (S, Fortune 500) -- of a new mobile payment system called Google Wallet.
Computer Sciences Corp.'s (CSC, Fortune 500) shares dropped 13%, after the company's quarterly results came in short of expectations. The company said it earned an adjusted profit of $1.01 a share, while analysts were looking for $1.16 a share.
Freescale Semiconductor (FSL) priced its initial public offering at $18 a share, below its estimated range of between $22 and $24 per share. Shares rose 2% following its IPO.