Stocks: Monday's review
Japanese stocks rose, paring a monthly loss for the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, on speculation Europe may be close to a deal that will allow cash-strapped Greece to roll over some of its debt, helping avert a default and a possible banking crisis.
Fanuc Corp. (6954), a maker of factory robots that gets 11 percent of sales in Europe, rallied 2.6 percent. Ricoh Co. climbed 1.2 percent after the Nikkei newspaper said the European Union will cut tariffs on some office equipment. Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. jumped 4 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its rating, saying the maker of construction materials will benefit as Japan rebuilds from the March earthquake and tsunami.
Sony Corp. (6758) which sells about 20 percent of its PlayStation game consoles and other products in Europe, advanced 0.3 percent to 2,038 yen. Nintendo Co., the world’s biggest maker of game, climbed 2.9 percent to 14,940 yen.
Lawmakers in Greece are due to vote on a five-year austerity plan this week that must pass for the country to secure more international aid. Greece needs loans from Europe and the International Monetary fund to cover 6.6 billion euros ($9.4 billion) of maturing bonds in August.
European stocks gained as investors speculated that Greek lawmakers will heed Prime Minister George Papandreou’s call to approve a package of austerity measures.
Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) rose 2.7 percent after the U.K.’s third-largest bank by market value said first-half profit before taxes may post “double-digit” growth from a year earlier. Prudential Plc (PRU) climbed 2.6 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded the U.K.’s largest insurer to “buy.” TomTom NV (TOM2) plunged 27 percent after cutting full-year profit and sales forecasts as U.S. demand for its devices declined.
Papandreou faces his second survival test in a week tomorrow when lawmakers vote on the package of budget cuts and asset sales that’s needed before Greece can get the fifth loan payment from last year’s 110 billion-euro rescue. Failure to pass Papandreou’s 78 billion-euro plan may lead to the euro area’s first sovereign-debt default.
The first session of the three-day debate began in Athens yesterday. The Greek parliament will vote on June 29. Lawmakers also need to pass an implementation law, which provides the technical details of how the five-year plan will be applied, by June 30. Unions began their fourth general strike of the year at midnight, protesting against the plan.
U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index higher for a second day, amid optimism European nations will take action to prevent a Greek default and after Nike Inc. (NKE) beat earnings estimates.
Nike, the largest sporting-goods company, rallied 7 percent as sales climbed in North America. Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) and Halliburton Co. (HAL) added at least 4.1 percent as crude oil rebounded from a four-month low on forecasts that U.S. fuel demand will rise before the Fourth of July holiday. Accenture Plc (ACN) rose 3.5 percent as the second-biggest technology-consulting firm will replace Marshall & Ilsley Corp. (MI) in the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 dropped 4.8 percent in June through yesterday amid concern about Europe’s debt crisis and weaker-than-expected economic data. The benchmark gauge was still up 1.8 this year through yesterday on government stimulus measures and better- than-expected earnings reports.
Stocks in the U.S. rose even after data showed home prices fell by the most in 17 months and confidence among American consumers unexpectedly fell to a seven-month low. The S&P/Case- Shiller index of property values in 20 cities fell 4 percent from April 2010, the biggest drop since November 2009. The Conference Board’s index decreased to 58.5 from a revised 61.7 reading in May that was higher than previously estimated.
Nike jumped 7 percent to $87.35. Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker has boosted sales and reduced marketing costs from a year earlier, when Nike promoted around the World Cup, to fight rising costs for cotton, labor and transportation that have reduced profitability in the apparel industry this year.