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13.04.2012 07:23

Stocks: Thursday’s review

Most Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index climbing from its lowest level in more than two months, as materials producers and traders increased on higher commodity prices and Citigroup Inc. recommended buying global industrial shares.

Nikkei 225 9,524.79 +66.05 +0.70%

Hang Seng 20,281.37 +140.70 +0.70%

S&P/ASX 200 4,280.64 +34.52 +0.81%

Shanghai Composite 2,350.86 +41.94 +1.82%

Alumina Ltd., partner in the world’s biggest producer of the material used to make alumina, added 1.1 percent in Sydney after Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, reported an unexpected first-quarter profit. Fanuc Corp., a maker of production automation systems, advanced 1.6 percent after Citigroup maintained a buy rating on the Japanese company. Australian banks increased after the country’s payrolls rose almost seven times as much as economists estimated.

European stocks climbed the most in more than a week, led by a rally in mining companies, after the Federal Reserve signaled U.S. interest rates will remain low to support economic growth.

Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen endorsed the central bank’s view that borrowing costs are likely to stay low through 2014 as the central bank misses its goal for full employment and inflation remains in check.

National benchmark indexes advanced in 15 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rallied 1.3 percent, while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 (CAC) increased 1 percent. Spain’s IBEX 35 slipped 0.8 percent.

Rio Tinto, the world’s third-largest mining company, climbed 4.5 percent to 3,487 pence. BHP, the biggest, gained 2.8 percent to 1,906.5 pence and Xstrata Plc increased 2.5 percent to 1,105.5 pence.

China, the world’s largest consumer of copper, will publish its first-quarter GDP data tomorrow. The report is forecast to show the economy expanded 8.4 percent from a year earlier, slowing from the fourth quarter’s 8.9 percent increase, according to a survey of economists.

Hays rallied 8.9 percent to 88.5 pence after the U.K. recruitment company forecast full-year operating profit will “be towards the top of the current range of market estimates.”

Gerresheimer AG climbed 10 percent to 35.35 euros, the largest gain in three years, as the German maker of glass and plastic products for the health-care industry raised its forecast for the year.

Nokia Oyj dropped 7.2 percent to 3.04 euros, extending yesterday’s 14 percent selloff, as brokers reduced their recommendations on the shares. Societe Generale SA downgraded the biggest maker of mobile handsets by volume to hold from buy, while Morgan Stanley trimmed its price estimate by 32 percent to 2.60 euros after the company cut its profit forecasts yesterday.

U.S. stocks rose, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest two-day rally in 2012, on policymakers’ signals that interest rates will remain low.

Equities rose today as Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen and New York Fed President William C. Dudley endorsed the central bank’s view that borrowing costs are likely to stay low through 2014. Those comments overshadowed investors’ disappointment after a report showed that more Americans than forecast filed claims for jobless benefits last week.

Dow 12,986.58     +181.19       +1.41%, Nasdaq      3,055.55       +39.09 +1.30%,  S&P 500 1,387.57         +18.86 +1.38%

Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) advanced 4.6 percent to $106.44. Alcoa Inc. (AA), which this week reported an unexpected profit, rallied 2.7 percent to $10.17. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) climbed 1.9 percent to $44.84.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) jumped 7.2 percent, the most in the Dow, to $25.10. The company accounted for 17.2 percent of worldwide PC shipments, Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner said yesterday. Total global PC shipments climbed 1.9 percent to 89 million units, after predictions of a 1.2 percent drop, according to Gartner. Another research firm, IDC, also reported a surprise increase for the quarter.

Google rallied 2.4 percent to $651.01. After the close of regular trading, the shares rose 1.8 percent to $662.60. First- quarter profit before certain costs was $10.08 a share. Analysts had projected $9.64 on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

AT&T Inc. (T) gained 1.3 percent to $30.84 after the company’s shares were raised to the equivalent of buy at JPMorgan. The 9- month share-price estimate is $33.

$31.6 Billion

McKesson Corp. jumped 3.9 percent to $91.34. The largest U.S. drug distributor based on revenue rose to its highest level since 1998 after the company won a $31.6 billion contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

13.04.2012 07:02

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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