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Asian markets ended Thursday mostly lower.
Mainland Chinese and South Korean shares advanced Thursday, while most other equity markets came off earlier lows as bargain buyers circled back into equities on attractive valuations.
The markets fell after sell-off of financial stocks in U.S markets, as investors worried that problems in the European banking sector could spillover into the U.S. banks. European stock markets declined amid speculation that France, Europe's second largest economy after Germany, may be first to face a rating cut.
Thursday marked the second day of gains in Seoul after the government there banned short-selling for three months, in the wake of extreme losses.
Some reports also cited speculation about state-owned funds as a reason for the support to the Chinese market. Dow Jones Newswires cited a Chinese media account as saying that the National Council for Social Security Fund had bought at least 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) worth of stocks since Tuesday.
Gains in Shanghai were led by airline stocks on hopes that steep recent fall in crude-oil prices and a rising yuan would cut their fuel costs, with bargain buyers also snapping up some banks and property developers.
Shares of Air China Ltd. jumped 4.9%, and China Eastern Airlines Corp. soared 10.1%; in Hong Kong, they gained 2.9% and 6.5%, respectively. In Tokyo, Shinsei Bank Ltd. fell 2.2%, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. dropped 1.9%
Attractive valuations also pushed several financials higher in the region, with China Construction Bank Corp. rising 1.7% in Hong Kong and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. climbing 1.5% in Sydney.
Japanese exporters declined as the dollar dropped below the 77-yen mark. Panasonic Corp. JP:6752 -1.72% fell 1.7%, and Sony Corp. JP:6758 -2.18% SNE -0.21% surrendered 2.2%.
Supporting the Australian stock market, shares of Telstra Corp. rose 5.7% after the telecommunications major’s profits beat analyst forecasts.
European markets rebounded into green zone.
Despite ongoing worries about the solvency of French bank Societe Generale, France's second-largest bank and concern that France, the second largest economy in Europe after Germany, may face a rating cut even though the major rating agencies have reiterated France's AAA rating, the markets buoyed by data showing an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims in U.S.
Another support was news that Italy and France will announce a naked short-selling ban after the close Thursday.
As a result, banking shares recouped some of the previous session’s heavy losses.
In Paris, BNP Paribas ended up 0.3% and Societe Generale rose 3.7%. SocGen shares fell 15% Wednesday amid rumors of a French downgrade and problems for the bank itself.
Italy’s UniCredit SpA added 3.4% after high volatility resulted in trading on several Italian banks being temporarily suspended.
The strong franc has been a big drag on earnings for Swiss companies and the currency’s fall buoyed shares of UBS AG, which rallied 10.1%.
The U.K. FTSE 100 index gained 3.1%, as shares of banking giant Barclays PLC rallied 8.6%, recouping losses from the previous session.
US stock exchanges soared on labor market data.
The markets were supported continue rising amid strong corporate earnings of such large companies as Cisco Systems (CSCO) and encouraging data on US labor market.
Despite ongoing concern about the solvency of French bank Societe Generale, US stocks advanced as investors speculated that recent losses have overestimated the slowdown in the pace of economic growth.
Economy: The Labor Department's report showed a decline in jobless claims by 7K to 395K in the week ended on Aug 6. Analysts forecast a figure’s rise to 412K.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported lower-than-expected June statistics on international trade (-$53.1B versus est. -$47.5B and prev. -$50.8B) and trade balance (-$1.56B versus est. -$0.90B and prev. -$1.04B).
Corporate news: Dow component Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO) jumped 16% as last night the company reported better-than-expected fiscal Q4 results on profit and sales and forecast the current quarter higher than expected as well.
Shares of News Corp. (NWSA) soared 18% after the company beat earnings and sales expectations despite recent phone-hacking allegations.
The relief over Europe's banking sector helped U.S. bank shares recover from the previous session's slide. Shares of Bank of America (BAC) gained more than 6%, while JPMorgan Chase (JPM) rose 7% and Morgan Stanley (MS) shares increased by 11%.
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $15.73 +14.57% (The company last night reported better-than-expected fiscal Q4 results on profit and sales and forecast the current quarter higher than expected as well. The company was upgraded by Wunderlich and Morgan Stanley today)
AOL Inc.’ (AOL) shares gained 12% as the internet company authorized a $250 million stock buyback.
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