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01.08.2012 08:01

Stocks: Tuesday’s review

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for a second monthly gain, on speculation the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank may signal their readiness to stimulate growth amid signs of a global economic slowdown, boosting the earnings outlook for exporters.

Nikkei 225 8,695.06 +59.62 +0.69%

S&P/ASX 200 4,269.2 +23.49 +0.55%

Shanghai Composite 2,103.67 -6.24 -0.30%

Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, advanced 5.8 percent in Tokyo on a share buyback plan, pacing gains among information technology shares.

Hokuriku Electric Power Co. soared 14 percent, leading Japanese utilities higher after raising its sales forecast.

Campbell Brothers Ltd., a provider of laboratory services for the mining industry, slumped 10 percent in Sydney after saying volatility and uncertainty in the global economy may have a negative earnings impact.

European stocks fell, even as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index completed its second straight monthly rally, after companies including BP Plc and UBS AG posted earnings that missed forecasts and investors awaited the outcome of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting.

The German Finance Ministry said it sees no need to award a banking license to the euro-area’s permanent rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism.

National benchmark indexes retreated in 16 of the 18 western-European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.8 percent, while Germany’s DAX Index added 0.2 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index fell 0.6 percent.

BP lost 4.4 percent to 425.05 pence, the most since Sept. 22. Europe’s second-biggest oil company reported a loss in the second quarter as the company wrote down the value of U.S. assets and production dropped.  BP reported a net loss of $1.4 billion compared with a profit of $5.7 billion a year earlier, the London-based company said today in a statement. Excluding one-time items and changes in inventories, profit missed analyst estimates.

UBS retreated 5.9 percent to 10.29 Swiss francs, the biggest decline since October. Switzerland’s biggest bank reported second-quarter profit that fell 58 percent, missing analysts’ projections, as its investment bank lost money on the Facebook Inc. share sale. Net income declined to 425 million francs ($434 million) from 1.02 billion francs a year earlier.

U.S. stocks fell, trimming a second monthly advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s monetary-policy decision tomorrow.
Equities fell on bets the Fed may forgo announcing a third round of large-scale asset purchases this week, and is more likely to wait until September to unveil plans to buy $600 billion in housing and government debt. Policy makers meeting today and tomorrow may wait for more employment data before deciding whether action is needed to boost an economy that’s slowed for two straight quarters.
Consumer spending in the U.S. stagnated in June as labor- market weakness prompted Americans to use the biggest gain in incomes in three months to build savings. Yet Americans may be growing less pessimistic about job prospects later in the year, with another report today showing consumer confidence rose unexpectedly for the first time in five months.
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) climbed 1.4 percent, the most in the Dow, to $24.04. The world’s largest drugmaker said it will file in mid- August to sell as much as 20 percent of its animal-health unit in an initial public offering. The company also reported profit that beat analyst estimates as a result of cost cutting.
Coach Inc., the largest U.S. luxury handbag maker, tumbled 19 percent after reporting revenue that trailed analysts’ estimates.

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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