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03.05.2012 07:43

Stocks: Wednesday’s review

Asian stocks gained as manufacturing in the U.S. and China improved in April, adding to signs the world’s biggest economies are recovering and boosting the outlook for the region’s exporters.

Nikkei 225 9,380.25 +29.30 +0.31%

Hang Seng 21,353.64 +259.43 +1.23%

S&P/ASX 200 4,435.9 +6.39 +0.14%

Shanghai Composite 2,438.44 +42.12 +1.76%

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s No. 1 mobile-phone maker by sales, climbed 1.4 percent in Seoul.

Japan Tobacco Inc. gained 2.4 percent after Asia’s largest cigarette maker said it will raise its dividend payout.

Idemitsu Kosan Co. jumped 4.6 percent after Japan’s third-biggest oil refiner posted earnings that beat expectations.

Asustek Computer Inc. surged 7 percent in Taipei after the laptop maker reported net income that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

European stocks declined for the second time in three days after reports showed that U.S. employers added fewer payrolls than forecast and euro-area unemployment rose to a 15-year high.

Euro-region unemployment rose to a 15-year high and manufacturing contracted for a ninth month, separate reports showed today. The jobless rate in the 17-nation euro area increased to 10.9 percent in March from 10.8 percent in February, the European Union statistics office in Luxembourg said. That’s the highest since April 1997.

In China, a survey released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics indicated that output at small and medium-sized enterprises contracted. That contrasts with a report yesterday that showed Chinese manufacturing expanded last month at the fastest pace in a year.

National benchmark indexes fell in 15 of the 18 western European markets today. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 slid 0.9 percent and Germany’s DAX (DAX) retreated 0.8 percent. Spain’s IBEX 35 Index dropped 2.6 percent to 6,831.90, its lowest level since March 2009.

A gauge of banks performed the worst of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 after spreads between German 10- year government bonds and Italian and Spanish securities expanded.

Banco Santander SA and UniCredit SpA, the biggest lenders in Spain and Italy, declined 3.3 percent to 4.56 euros and 5.7 percent to 2.84 euros, respectively.

UBS rose 3.7 percent to 11.75 Swiss francs after the lender attracted more funds from wealthy clients in the first quarter than analysts estimated. UBS said its wealth management units attracted 10.9 billion Swiss francs ($12 billion) in net new funds, more than the 8.8 billion-franc estimate of analysts.

British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc climbed 1.5 percent to 701.5 pence. The U.K.’s biggest pay-TV operator said operating profit in the nine months ended March rose 20 percent. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization increased to 1.19 billion pounds ($1.9 billion). Sales jumped 5 percent to 5.08 billion pounds.

Vestas, the biggest wind turbine maker, declined 5.6 percent to 48.15 kroner, the lowest closing price since May 28, 2003. The company said its loss widened 91 percent in the quarter as it expects to spend more money on turbine maintenance after uncovering potential faults in 376 machines.

U.S. stocks fell, dragging the Dow Jones Industrial Average down from the highest level since 2007, as data showed companies added fewer jobs than economists projected and euro-region unemployment rose to a 15-year high.

Equities fell as American companies added 119,000 workers in April, the fewest in seven months, according to a private report. Concern about Europe’s economy also helped drive stocks lower today. The jobless rate in the euro area rose to 10.9 percent in March, manufacturing contracted last month and unemployment in Germany unexpectedly increased.

Chesapeake tumbled 15 percent, the most since 2008, to $16.74. The company slashed its full-year 2012 and 2013 operating cash flow estimates by as much as 48 percent, and increased the amount of assets it plans to sell. This year’s cash flow estimate was lowered to $2.7 billion to $3 billion, from a February forecast of $4.5 billion to $5.2 billion.

CVS Caremark Corp. rose 2.7 percent to $45.92. The largest provider of prescription drugs in the U.S. reported first- quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates after grabbing customers from Walgreen Co.

Con-way Inc. advanced 13 percent to $37. The U.S. trucking company said it earned 45 cents a share excluding some items in the first quarter. Analysts, on average, estimated 34 cents.

03.05.2012 07:18

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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