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20.01.2012 08:24

Stocks: Thursday’s review

Asian stocks rose, spurring a record start to the year for the regional benchmark index, amid signs China will relax credit controls and after confidence among U.S. home builders beat estimates.

Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest carmaker by market value, advanced 1.4 percent in Tokyo.

Sumco Corp. (3436) led gains in semiconductor-related companies after ASML Holding NV, Europe’s largest maker of semiconductor equipment, forecast higher first- quarter orders.

Agile Property Holdings (3383) Ltd., a Chinese property developer, rose 6.9 percent in Hong Kong on speculation China may ease capital requirements for lenders.

European stocks gained for a fourth day, extending a five-month high for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as Spain and France sold bonds at lower yields and fewer Americans than forecast filed claims for jobless benefits.

France auctioned 7.97 billion euros of two-, three- and four-year notes in its first sale of medium- and long-term debt after losing its AAA rating at Standard & Poor’s last week. Yields fell on all maturities.

Spain sold 6.6 billion euros of bonds maturing in 2016, 2019 and 2022 today, compared with a maximum target for the sale of 4.5 billion euros. The yields on the 2022 and 2019 securities declined, while the 2016 borrowing costs increased.

In the U.S., initial jobless-benefit claims plunged by 50,000 to 352,000 in the week ended Jan. 14, the lowest level since April 2008, Labor Department figures showed. Bank of America Corp., the second-largest U.S. lender, swung to a fourth-quarter profit as the company sold assets and built capital faster than expected.

National benchmark indexes rose in all of Europe’s 18 western markets, except Iceland. Commerzbank surged 15 percent, the biggest jump since October. Germany’s second-largest lender said the measures it can take to boost capital or reduce the equivalent in risk-weighted assets by June 30 total 6.3 billion euros, outstripping the 5.3 billion euros required by the European Banking Authority.

BNP Paribas SA jumped 8.2 percent while Deutsche Bank AG rallied 8.4 percent. Barclays Plc gained 10 percent and UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, gained 8.1 percent as Morgan Stanley named them all among its “most preferred” bank stocks.

Alstom jumped 14 percent, the biggest gain since 2008. The company said it has more than 1 billion euros of announced contracts yet to be booked in its fiscal year, which runs through March.

Porsche SE rose 8.3 percent after Manager Magazin reported that the German sports-car maker offered to settle claims by U.S. investors tied to its failed takeover attempt for Volkswagen AG in 2008. Porsche made the offer dependent on the investors waiving possible new claims in the future, the magazine reported.

U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index higher for a third straight day, as Bank of America Corp. rallied after swinging to a profit and jobless claims plunged to the lowest level in almost four years.

Besides earnings optimism, stocks rose today as fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time applications for unemployment benefits last week, easing concern that post- holiday firings were on the rise. Equities briefly erased gains as the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index rose to 7.3 from 6.8 in December, trailing the median forecast for a reading of 10.3.

Bank of America (ВАС) rallied 1.84 percent, the most in the Dow. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan is cutting assets, expenses and staff while raising capital to meet demands from regulators for a larger cushion against unexpected losses. So far, $50 billion in holdings are gone, and Moynihan’s Project New BAC will eliminate at least 30,000 jobs as the firm seeks to save $5 billion annually.

Morgan Stanley climbed 5.4 percent. Morgan Stanley posted the only increase in trading revenue excluding accounting gains among the five largest Wall Street banks in 2011, making progress toward Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Gorman’s goal of boosting market share.

EBay Inc. jumped 3.9 percent. The largest Internet marketplace reported sales and profit that topped analysts’ estimates, buoyed by a campaign to promote its expanded retail offerings and broader use of the PayPal online- payments service.

Johnson Controls Inc. plunged 8.77 percent. The largest U.S. auto supplier lowered its forecast for profit for the fiscal year on weakening demand for replacement batteries and a reduced outlook for vehicle assembly in Europe.

20.01.2012 08:00

Tech on USD/JPY

Market Focus

  • The eurozone started the third quarter on a solid footing, according to PMI survey data
  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • German private sector output growth slowed for the second month running in July
  • ECB's Mersch says as conditions normalise, it is unlikely that uncoventional policies will remain necessary
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