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05.04.2012 07:05

Stocks: Wednesday’s review

Asian stocks slid, with the benchmark index  snapping a three-day winning streak amid market holidays across the region, after the Federal Reserve damped expectations for more monetary stimulus, sending commodity prices down and weighing on shares of resource companies. Shares extended declines after Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped below the key level of 10,000 for the first time in two weeks, triggering a deeper selloff.

Nikkei 225 9,819.99 -230.40 -2.29%

Hang Seng 20,790.98 +268.72 +1.31%

S&P/ASX 200 4,333.86 -3.17 -0.07%

Shanghai Composite Closed

BHP Billiton Ltd., Australia’s biggest oil producer, sank 1.5 percent in Sydney after crude prices fell.

Fast Retailing Co., Japan’s top clothier, plunged 5 percent after sales at its Uniqlo stores disappointed investors.

SK Telecom Co. slid 3.5 percent in Seoul after Posco sold shares of the mobile carrier at a discount.

European stocks fell for a second day after Spain sold fewer bonds than its maximum target and the Federal Reserve damped expectations of more monetary stimulus for the U.S.

Spain sold 2.6 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of bonds, near the minimum target, and borrowing costs rose in its first auction since the country said public debt will surge to a record this year. The Treasury had set a range of 2.5 billion euros to 3.5 billion euros for the sale.

The European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 1 percent. The euro-area’s economic outlook remains subject to “downside risks,” President Mario Draghi said at a press conference in Frankfurt.

Euro-area retail sales declined 0.1 percent from January, when they rose a revised 1.1 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted for a second month in March. A composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries dropped to 49.1 from 49.3 in February, London-based Markit Economics said today. That’s above an initial estimate of 48.7 on March 22. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. In Germany, factory orders rose 0.3 percent in February, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today.

National benchmark indexes fell in all of the 18 western European markets, led by Sweden’s OMX 30 Index, which tumbled 3.6 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index dropped 2.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slipped 2.5 percent and Germany’s DAX Index retreated 3 percent.

Volvo lost 4.8 percent to 93.65 kronor after ACT Research said preliminary Class 8 truck orders in North America for March were 20,000 units, the second consecutive month that orders came in “below expectations.”

U.S. sales of cars and light trucks rose to a 14.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, falling short of the 14.5 million median estimate of analysts.

Peugeot SA plunged 5.6 percent to 10.80 euros, Renault SA slipped 4.5 percent to 37.27 euros, and Porsche SE retreated 2.3 percent to 43.50 euros.

BTG gained 2.6 percent to 347.10 pence after the company said sales for the year ended March 31 would reach as much as 195 million pounds ($309 million), more than previously forecast, because of higher-than-expected royalties from two drugs.

Ferrovial SA, Spain’s largest builder by market value, added 2.2 percent to 8.41 euros after Bank of America reiterated its buy recommendation on the shares and said Spain’s new tax rules won’t hurt the company.

U.S. stocks fell, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index posting this year’s second-biggest decline, as SanDisk Corp.’s lower forecast dragged down technology shares and the Federal Reserve signaled it may refrain from more monetary stimulus.

Stocks extended losses today after a report showed service industries in the U.S. expanded less than forecast in March as orders grew at the slowest pace in three months. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index dropped to 56 from a one-year high of 57.3 in February. Readings above 50 signal expansion, and economists projected 56.8 for the gauge, according to the median estimate.

Employment increased by 209,000 for the month after a revised 230,000 gain in February, figures from ADP Employer Services showed today.

Dow   13,074.75     -124.80        -0.95%, Nasdaq       3,068.09       -45.48 -1.46%, S&P 500    1,398.96       -14.42 -1.02%

Alcoa Inc. (АА)  lost 2.5 percent, pacing declines among material companies, as investors sold shares of companies most- tied to the economy after a report on U.S. service industries missed estimates.

SanDisk sank 11 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $44.51 after predicting revenue in the quarter that ended April 1 of about $1.2 billion. That compared with an earlier forecast for sales of $1.3 billion to $1.35 billion. Gross margin, a measure of profitability, will be less than the company’s previous prediction of 39 percent to 42 percent, SanDisk said.

Bank of America (ВАС) slumped 3.1 percent to $9.20 while JPMorgan (JPM) declined 2.2 percent to $44.41.

General Electric Co. (GE), the maker of jet engines, power generation equipment, health-care imaging equipment and locomotives, fell 1.1 percent to $19.74. Moody’s Investors Service cut its credit rating by two steps, citing “heightened risk” from the company’s finance unit.

05.04.2012 06:42

Tech on USD/JPY

Market Focus

  • U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels from the previous week
  • Canada: Retail Sales, m/m, November 0.2% (forecast 0.5%)
  • U.S.: Nonfarm Payrolls, January 227 (forecast 175)
  • Eurozone: Consumer Confidence, January -4.9
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