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Asian equity markets were mostly higher on the first trading day of the new month
The sentiment was supported by rise of US stocks the day before and amid speculations the U.S. Federal Reserve may use a range of tools to provide additional monetary stimulus if needed.
The input price components of the Chinese PMI data showed that inflation remained elevated in July. The Chinese government has been acting to curb inflation by tightening monetary policy, prompting worries of a hard-landing for the economy.
Gainers on Thursday included exporters, with shares of technology firm Samsung Electronics Co. gaining 3.6% in South Korea as well as Casio Computer Co. climbed 3.9% and Kyocera Corp. rose 2.3% in Tokyo.
The Japanese government announced it would invest $2.6 billion into a major new small-flat-screen joint venture linking Sony Corp. (+1.98%), Toshiba Corp. (+0.91%) and Hitachi Ltd. (+0.97%). The merged entity will be the world’s largest maker of small panels used in smartphones and tablet PCs. All three companies suffered losses on small panels until last
year so the merger will allow them to focus on their main operations.
European indexes closed Thursday higher in the wake of higher-than-expected US ISM manufacturing data
Earlier today the markets plummeted down amid intensified concerns about EU debt crisis.
Those fears increased as yesterday the Expert Committee on the Greek Parliament said that debt situation of Greece is out of control and its budget deficit would widen even if all planned measures taken in time.
Today European Central Bank began buying Spanish and Italian debt.
Earlier additional pressure on the markets was EU statistics, which showed that Q2 GDP growth of Germany, the largest economy in the eurozone, added only 0.1% compared with rising 1.5% in the previous period.
A European manufacturing gauge based on a survey of purchasing managers in the 17-nation euro region fell to 49 in August from 50.4 in the prior month. It was the weakest reading in two years and below an initial estimate of 49.7 published Aug. 23. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
Economic growth in Germany, the euro region’s largest economy, slowed in the second quarter as household spending decreased. Germany’s gross domestic product expanded 0.1 percent in the second quarter, down from 1.3 percent in the first three months of the year, the nation’s Federal Statistics Office said Thursday, confirming its initial Aug. 16 estimate.
Nevertheless, strong US manufacturing data from ISM significantly supported the European equities.
U.K. banks led the gains on hopes that major reforms will be delayed, while French media conglomerate Lagardere SCA tumbled.
Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC soared 8.2%, shares of Lloyds Banking Group PLC jumped 6.2% and shares of Barclays PLC added 5.6% in London. The moves came after the Financial Times reported that lenders will likely avoid any major restructuring until after a general election in 2015.
Financial-services group Hargreaves Lansdown PLC soared 17.7% after reporting a sharp rise in profit and saying planned changes to U.K. fund rules shouldn’t hurt its earnings.
Shares of Lagardere tumbled 11.1% after the conglomerate warned that profit for the year will fall short of expectations amid problems for its sports division.
Blue Chip stocks ended the day in the red zone amid mixed reaction on ISM manufacturing report
Economy: The markets affected today by the stronger-than-forecast factory data as it damped speculation that the Federal Reserve may take further steps to stimulate growth. The ISM manufacturing index dropped to 50.6 in August vs previous figure of 50.9 and expected decline to 48.0.
Earlier the U.S. initial claims for the week ending on August 27 were slightly better than expected (409K vs. forecast 410K), but hadn’t significant impact on the futures.
Another report showed the U.S. construction projects fell 1.3% in July vs. previous rise by 1.6% and forecast of unchanged figure.
Corporate news: All S&P groups dropped today. Conglomerats (-2.0%) and Industrial Goods (-1.8) suffer the largest losses. Gains from Ciena Corp. (CIEN +20.18%), helped spur action in Technology sector (-1.3%) as the communications networking equipment provider posted a surprise quarterly adjusted profit as reduced operating costs helped boost margins.
Major automakers Ford (F -2.43%), Toyota (TM -2.93%), GM (GM -4.17) reported sales figures for August. The figures came in a bit short of forecasts.
Retailers were among Thursday's top performers, including shares of Macy's (M +2.08%) and Costco (COST +1.20%) after both companies reported better-than-expected same-store sales for August. Both Macys and Costco shares rose on the day.
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