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19.04.2012 07:06

Stocks: Wednesday’s review

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for its biggest gain this month, after the International Monetary Fund raised global economic forecasts and Spain sold more debt than targeted, boosting the earnings outlook for exporters.

Nikkei 225 9,667.26 +202.55 +2.14%

Hang Seng 20,777.39 +215.08 +1.05%

S&P/ASX 200 4,348.66 +59.88 +1.40%

Shanghai Composite 2,380.88 +45.86 +1.96%

Toyota Motor Corp., Asia’s biggest carmaker by market value, gained 2.8 percent in Tokyo. OCI Co., a maker of materials used in solar panels, advanced 4.7 percent in Seoul on speculation oversupply in the industry may ease as companies consolidate and restructure.

BHP Billiton Ltd. rose 2.5 percent in Sydney after commodity prices gained and the miner’s iron-ore production rose.

CSR Corp., a Chinese trainmaker, increased 4.6 percent in Hong Kong after a report it won orders from Hong Kong.

European stocks declined as Bank of England policy maker Adam Posen ended his support for more stimulus and bad loans surged in Spain.

Posen ended his push for further Bank of England stimulus, joining the majority of the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee in seeking no change to the 325 billion-pound ($517 billion) asset-purchase target, according to minutes of their April 4-5 meeting published today in London.

Non-performing loans for Spanish banks as a proportion of total lending jumped to 8.16 percent in February, the highest level since 1994, from less than 1 percent in 2007, according to Bank of Spain data. The total credit in the economy that the regulator lists as “doubtful” reached 143.8 billion euros.

National benchmark indexes fell in 15 of the 18 western- European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index declined 1.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.4 percent. Germany’s DAX Index lost 1 percent. Spain’s IBEX 35 Index retreated 4 percent to its lowest since March 2009.

Santander, Spain’s largest bank, dropped 4 percent to 4.81 euros. Banco Popular Espanol SA fell 3.2 percent to 2.39 euros. CaixaBank slid 3.5 percent to 2.60 euros. A gauge of European bank shares was the second-worst performer of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600.

Repsol dropped 6.2 percent to 15.40 euros. Argentina rejected its demand for $10.5 billion in compensation after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner seized its YPF SA unit, saying it hasn’t invested enough in the South American country.

Iberdrola dropped 7.9 percent to 3.59 euros, its lowest since November 2003, after Actividades de Construccion & Servicios SA sold a 3.7 percent stake in Spain’s biggest power company to cut debt. ACS tumbled 6.1 percent to 16.45 euros as it said the stake sale will reduce its earnings by 540 million euros.

Statoil Fuel & Retail soared 51 percent to 52.60 kroner. Alimentation Couche-Tard offered to buy the company for 53 kroner per share, valuing it at 15.9 billion kroner ($2.8 billion). The offer represents a 53 percent premium for Scandinavia’s biggest gas-station operator, the Laval, Canada- based company said in a statement today. Statoil ASA (STL), Norway’s biggest oil producer, has agreed to sell its 54 percent stake in the company.

BHP Billiton added 0.9 percent to 1,943 pence, gaining for a third day. The world’s largest mining company said third- quarter iron ore production rose 14 percent as it expands its mines and port in Australia.

Heineken NV advanced 2.5 percent to 43.35 euros after reporting first-quarter revenue of 3.83 billion euros, beating analysts’ estimates of 3.74 billion euros.

U.S. stocks fell, after the biggest advance in more than a month for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as Intel Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. drove a slump in technology shares after reporting results.

Stocks fell as Intel forecast gross margin that was lower than some analysts predicted and IBM’s sales missed forecasts. The S&P 500 had risen 11 percent in 2012 through yesterday on better-than-estimated economic and corporate data. Equities also dropped as Bank of England policy makers said inflation may be higher than forecast. Spain will auction 3.3 percent two-year notes and 5.85 percent 10-year debt tomorrow.

Intel (INTC) slumped 1.8 percent to $27.95, while IBM retreated 3.5 percent to $200.13. IBM’s revenue climbed 0.3 percent to $24.7 billion in the period, while Intel sales rose 0.5 percent to $12.9 billion. That was the smallest increase for either company since the third quarter of 2009, when the U.S. economy was just emerging from recession. Even so, Intel predicted a pickup in sales for the current quarter.

Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares lost 1.3 percent to $119,750 even after Buffett said his condition is “not remotely life threatening.” The 81-year-old billionaire will begin a two-month treatment of daily radiation in July, he said. The regimen will restrict his travel during the period and not otherwise change his daily routine, said Buffett, who is chief executive officer of the Omaha, Nebraska-based company.

Genworth Financial Inc. tumbled 24 percent, the most since November 2008, to $5.87. The IPO is now planned for early 2013, after the company previously targeted the offering for the second quarter of this year, the insurer said late yesterday in a statement. Genworth has said it plans to sell as much as 40 percent of the unit.

Yahoo! Inc. advanced 3.2 percent to $15.49 after reporting first-quarter sales that topped estimates, fueling optimism that a turnaround effort by Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson may take hold.

Halliburton Co. added 4.6 percent to $34.17. The world’s largest provider of hydraulic fracturing services said first- quarter profit increased as rising crude prices drove producers to expand drilling in North America.

19.04.2012 06:40

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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