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Oil +0.04 (+0.04%) $88.94
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Japanese stocks swung between gains and losses, sending the Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average to the biggest monthly drop in a year, after lower U.S. consumer confidence stoked speculation the Federal Reserve will take further steps to stimulate growth.
For the month, the Nikkei has fallen 8.9 percent, the biggest monthly loss since May 2010, while the Topix is down 8.4 percent.
Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets more than 80 percent of its revenue abroad, rose 1.5 percent, giving the biggest support for the Topix index.
Nintendo Co., the world’s largest maker of video-game players, rose 3.9 percent after SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. raised its rating on the company.
Taiheiyo Cement Corp. (5233), a cement maker, plunged 15 percent after saying it plans to sell shares to the public.
Sony Corp. (6758), Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, slid 1.8 percent to 1,665 yen.
Stocks also fell after Japan’s industrial production in July gained less than economists had expected.
European stocks gained for a third day, trimming their biggest monthly drop since 2008, as U.S. business activity and factory orders topped forecasts and Federal Reserve minutes showed some policy makers wanted to add to stimulus measures.
Bouygues SA (EN) soared 16 percent after announcing a buyback.
Smith & Nephew Plc (SN/), Europe’s biggest maker of artificial hips and knees, rallied 4.9 percent amid takeover speculation.
UPM- Kymmene Oyj, Europe’s second-largest papermaker, rose 7.5 percent after saying it will close mills to cut capacity.
Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) sank 7.6 percent as the U.S. sued to block AT&T Inc.’s acquisition of its T-Mobile USA Inc. unit.
A report today showed German unemployment fell for a 26th straight month in August and the jobless rate held at 7 percent, the lowest since records for a reunified Germany began in 1991.
A gauge of carmakers surged 4.3 percent for the second- biggest gain in the Stoxx 600.
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the largest maker of luxury vehicles, rose 3.9 percent to 56.35 euros while Pirelli & C.
SpA, Europe’s third-largest maker of tires, climbed 6.7 percent to 5.83 euros.
Valeo SA (FR), France’s second-largest auto-parts maker, jumped 8.8 percent to 36.79 euros, the biggest increase in six months.
Stocks lost momentum Wednesday afternoon after enjoying a strong rally earlier in the day. The seesaw ride was fitting on this last day of what has been an extremely volatile month for Wall Street. Investors today digested several economic reports on the labor market and manufacturing.
The Dow was led higher by shares of manufacturing heavyweights Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500) and Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500), both up more than 3%, following two strong reports on factory orders and the Chicago purchasing managers' index.
But shares of AT&T (T, Fortune 500) dropped more than 4.5% following news that the U.S. Justice Department had filed an antitrust suit to block the telecommunications giant's proposed buyout of T-Mobile. Sprint (S, Fortune 500) shares jumped 7% on the news as well.
Economy: Challenger, Gray & Christmas said the number of planned job cuts fell 23% in August. And private-sector payrolls rose by 91,000 in August, according to payroll processor ADP. Economists were expecting the private sector to hire 100,000 new workers during the month, down from the 109,000 in the prior month.
The two reports come ahead of Friday's highly anticipated August jobs report. A CNNMoney survey of 17 economists forecasts that the U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1% in August.
In other economic data, the Commerce Department said June factory orders jumped 2.4%, much better than the 1% decline that economists were are looking for.
The Chicago purchasing managers index dropped to a reading of 56.5 in July compared with a reading of 58.8 the month before. However the number was well above the forecasted reading of 53.0 that economists had expected.
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