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18.10.2012 07:02

Stocks: Wednesday’s review



Asian stocks advanced, with the regional benchmark index headed for the biggest two-day gain in a month, after U.S. industrial production beat estimates and Spain retained its investment-grade credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

Nikkei 225 8,806.55 +105.24 +1.21%

S&P/ASX 200 4,528.2 +36.70 +0.82%

Shanghai Composite 2,105.89 +7.08 +0.34%

Mobile-phone maker LG Electronics Inc., which gets about 45 percent of its sales from North America and Europe, rose 2.5 percent in Seoul.

Fujikon Industrial Holdings Ltd., which manufactures electronic products, surged 9.8 percent in Hong Kong after saying it expects first-half profit to rise.

Ten Network Holdings Ltd., Australia’s third-ranked television broadcaster, slumped to a record low in Sydney as a plan to sell its Eye Corp. billboard unit faltered.

European stocks rose for a third day, the longest winning streak in five weeks, as Moody’s Investors Service kept its investment-grade debt rating on Spain and U.S. new-home construction surged to a four-year high.

Moody’s kept an investment-grade credit rating on Spain late yesterday, citing a reduction in the risk of losing market access because of the ECB’s willingness to buy the nation’s debt.

New-home construction in the U.S. surged in September to the highest level in four years. Starts jumped 15 percent to an 872,000 annual rate last month, the most since July 2008 and exceeding all forecasts of economists, Commerce Department figures showed today. The median estimate of 81 economists surveyed called for a reading of 770,000.

In the U.K., jobless claims unexpectedly fell in September and a wider measure of unemployment dropped to the lowest rate in more than a year as the London Olympics helped push employment to a record.

National benchmark indexes rose in 16 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 (UKX) gained 0.7 percent, Germany’s DAX increased 0.3 percent and France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.8 percent. Spain’s IBEX 35 surged 2.4 percent.

Waertsilae soared 8.1 percent to 29.02 euros in Helsinki, the biggest increase since November. The company reported third- quarter earnings that exceeded estimates and boosted its full- year sales-growth forecast.

Peugeot climbed 4.1 percent to 6.03 euros. Banks may delay the repayment of 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion) in loans from Peugeot’s credit division, Banque PSA Finance, Le Figaro reported, without saying where it got the information. The automaker is examining funding options for the unit, said Jean- Baptiste Mounier, a spokesman for Peugeot.

Danone dropped 3 percent to 47.33 euros, the largest decrease since Aug. 2. The world’s biggest yogurt maker reported third-quarter revenue growth that missed analysts’ estimates as sales of dairy products in Spain and Italy fell. Revenue adjusted for acquisitions, divestments and currency swings rose 5 percent, the Paris-based company said, trailing the 6.1 percent average of 15 forecasts.

ASML Holding NV dropped 5.3 percent to 39.15 euros as Europe’s biggest semiconductor-equipment maker forecast fourth- quarter sales of about 1 billion euros, trailing estimates of 1.16 billion euros. The company’s gross-margin outlook was 41 percent, compared with a 42.6 percent estimate. Separately, ASML agreed to buy Cymer Inc. for 1.95 billion euros.

TeliaSonera AB , Sweden’s biggest phone company, slipped 1.6 percent to 45.40 kronor after it reported third-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ projections because of slowing sales

U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index higher for a third straight day, as a jump in housing starts overshadowed disappointing results from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Intel Corp. (INTC)

U.S. equities rose as Commerce Department figures showed new-house construction jumped 15 percent to an 872,000 annual rate last month, the most since July 2008 and exceeding all forecasts of economists. The median estimate of 81 economists called for 770,000.

Technology shares had the largest decline among 10 groups in the S&P 500 (SPX), tumbling 0.8 percent.

Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor maker, dropped 2.5 percent to $21.79. Profit is being crimped by expenses to slow factory output and combat rising inventories. Corporate customers are showing “caution” in placing orders and consumers in developed markets are curtailing PC purchases, Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said in a statement.

IBM dropped 4.9 percent to $200.63 after the world’s biggest computer-services provider reported revenue that dropped 5.4 percent to $24.7 billion. That missed the $25.4 billion median analyst estimate, according to data. IBM customers, hurt by anemic demand in home markets, put off software purchases and computer-maintenance contracts.

Apollo Group Inc. tumbled 22 percent to $21.40. The largest U.S. for-profit college chain forecast revenue for fiscal 2013 that missed analysts’ estimates and said it would close campuses and cut jobs.

At the close:

Dow 13,557 +5 +0.04%

Nasdaq 3,104 +3 +0.09%

S&P 500 1,461 +6 +0.42%

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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