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08.12.2011 07:59

Stocks: Wednesday’s review

Asian stocks rose on speculation European leaders meeting this week in Brussels will step up efforts to fight the debt crisis and stave off lower national credit ratings that may make funding bailouts more costly.

Greek Prime Minister Papademos received parliamentary approval for a 2012 budget that aims to almost halve the deficit shortfall from a debt writedown and ensure Greece remains a member of the euro area.

Company news:

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines surged 11% after saying it plans to form a pool of oil tankers with four other companies to cut costs. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. gained 7.3%.

Hyundai Development Co. , a builder from South Korea, rose 7.9 percent to 19,800 won in Seoul after the government said it will cut transfer taxes on owners of more than one house and will lower interest rates on loans for first-home buyers.

LG Chem Ltd.  sank 5.6%. Maeil Business Newspaper reported the company will spin off its battery business next year, citing an unnamed company official. LG Chem spokesman Owen Sung denied the report.

European stocks dropped after Germany rejected combining the current and permanent euro-area rescue funds and expressed pessimism over the outcome of a European Union summit this week.

National benchmark indexes fell in 12 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index declined 0.1 percent.

Germany said it opposes any change in the agreed sequence in which the the region’s bailout funds will be used. It stands by the current agreement that the permanent European Stability Mechanism will take over from the European Financial Stability Facility by the middle of next year, a German government official told reporters in Berlin today on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are private.

The statement followed a report in the Financial Times that said officials are negotiating a plan to run the EFSF even after the ESM starts operations. The proposal is part of a bigger rescue effort they will discuss at the EU summit in Brussels tomorrow and Dec. 9

Company news:

IATA said the airline industry’s profits next year will fall 49 percent, more than it had predicted previously. Deutsche Lufthansa AG declined 4.1% while SAS AB  slipped 0.5%.

Verbund AG climbed 3%. Morgan Stanley raised its shares to “overweight” from “equal weight.”

Carillion Plc jumped 4.2%. The company said it expects its debt to drop below 100 million pounds ($156 million) by end of the year, beating its earlier target of 125 million pounds. The stock was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Collins Stewart Hawkpoint Plc.

U.S. stocks rose, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the highest level since October, amid optimism that European leaders will announce further efforts to halt the debt crisis at a summit this week.

JPMorgan (JPM) Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. rose at least 1.9 percent to lead gains in the Dow. Financial shares increased the most among groups in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, rallying 1.2 percent after an earlier loss. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) dropped 1.1 percent, pacing declines among industrial companies, while Peabody Energy Corp. fell 3.4 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its ratings on coal producers.

Company news:

Coal producers declined after Goldman Sachs cut its view on the industry to “neutral” from “attractive,” citing proposed regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. Peabody Energy fell 3.4 percent to $36.95. Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) slipped 3.4 percent to $15.77. Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR) retreated 0.9 percent to $24.66.

Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, lost 1.1 percent to $94.89 for the biggest drop in the Dow.

First Solar Inc. (FSLR) advanced 4.1 percent to $47.99. Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings unit agreed to buy the company’s $2 billion Topaz Solar Farm project in California. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. SAIC Inc. (SAI) had the second-biggest advance in the S&P 500, rising 6.6 percent to $12.95. The defense contractor specializing in computer services reported third-quarter sales that beat analysts’ estimates.

Talbots Inc. (TLB) surged 70 percent to $2.65. The purveyor of women’s apparel said it would “evaluate” Sycamore Partners LP’s offer to buy the retailer for $212 million. The private- equity firm had said in a regulatory filing that it had offered to acquire all of the company’s shares for $3 apiece.

08.12.2011 07:41

Tech on USD/JPY

Market Focus

  • The Bank of Japan decided by a 7-2 majority vote to hold the interest rate at -0.10%
  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 4.7 million barrels from the previous week
  • Australian unemployment rate stable at 5.6% in June
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