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08.03.2013 08:05

Stocks: Thursday’s review

Asian shares dropped, with the regional benchmark index snapping two days of gains, led by Samsung Electronics Co. and Australian banks. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average pared gains after the Bank of Japan rejected a call for an immediate start to open-ended asset purchases.

Nikkei 225 11,968.08 +35.81 +0.30%

Hang Seng 22,771.44 -6.40 -0.03%

S&P/ASX 200 5,109.2 -7.59 -0.15%

Shanghai Composite 2,324.29 -22.89 -0.98%

Samsung, which yesterday announced it will invest 10.4 billion yen ($111 million) in troubled Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp., fell 2.6 percent in Seoul.

Sharp tumbled 7.9 percent.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Australia’s No. 3 lender by market value, slid 0.8 percent after announcing plans to cut jobs and as the nation reported a bigger-than- expected trade deficit.

Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second-biggest automaker by market value, pared gains to 0.6 percent in Tokyo.

Most European stocks advanced as the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy is growing and the European Central Bank and Bank of England kept their benchmark interest rates on hold.

The ECB kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent today, as forecast by 56 of 61 economists in a survey. The central bank predicted the euro-area economy will shrink 0.5 percent this year, more than the 0.3 percent contraction it forecast three months ago.

The Bank of England also left its key rate unchanged, along with its four-year-old bond-purchase program. The Monetary Policy Committee maintained its target for quantitative easing at 375 billion pounds ($564 billion), as forecast by 29 of 39 economists in a survey. The remainder had predicted an expansion of at least 25 billion pounds.

National benchmark indexes gained in 13 of the 18 western- European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index added 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent. Germany’s DAX increased 0.3 percent.

Aggreko surged 10 percent to 1,939 pence, its biggest gain since October 2008, as the company forecast “double digit” average revenue growth over the next five years.

Carrefour climbed 2.9 percent to 22 euros, its highest price since July 2011. Annual recurring operating income fell 2.6 percent to 2.14 billion euros ($2.8 billion), beating the 2.07 billion-euro average analyst estimate.

Adidas AG climbed 6.6 percent to 76.38 euros, the highest price since the shares started trading in November 1995. The world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker forecast higher sales and profit this year and raised its dividend by 35 percent as it targets fast-growing emerging markets.

Aviva plummeted 13 percent to 314.8 pence, its biggest drop since March 2009. The U.K.’s second-largest insurer by market value said it won’t pay bonuses to its executive directors or award pay rises for 2013 after cutting its second-half dividend by 44 percent. The company will pay a final dividend of 9 pence a share for 2012, down from 16 pence in the previous year.

Davide Campari-Milano SpA slipped 2.7 percent to 5.88 euros. The maker of Skyy vodka reported an unexpected drop in annual profit amid declining sales in Italy and Brazil and said this year will also be “challenging.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to another record high as the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits fell to a six-week low, showing further improvement in the labor market.

First-time jobless claims unexpectedly fell by 7,000 to 340,000 in the week ended March 2, the lowest since the period ended Jan. 19, according to data today from the Labor Department in Washington.

A Labor Department report tomorrow may show nonfarm payrolls rose by 163,000 last month, while the unemployment rate held at 7.9 percent, according to economists.

The trade deficit in the U.S. widened more than forecast in January as demand for imported crude oil rebounded. The gap grew by 16.5 percent to $44.4 billion from $38.1 billion in December that was the smallest in three years, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.

The Dow extended a record high yesterday as a private report showed companies hired more workers than estimated and the Federal Reserve said the economy is growing. The S&P 500 has reached its highest level since October 2007, just 1.3 percent below a record as the bull market enters its fifth year. The benchmark index has surged 128 percent from a 12-year low in 2009 as companies reported better-than-estimated earnings and the Fed embarked on three rounds of bond purchases to stimulate the economy.

Bank of America (ВАС), the second-largest U.S. lender, added 2.4 percent to $12.21.

Ciena surged 16 percent to $17.37. The maker of fiber-optic networking equipment reported first-quarter profit of 12 cents a share, compared with a 14-cent loss estimated by analysts on average. Revenue in the period also beat projections. Rival JDS Uniphase added 7.5 percent to $15.22.

Boeing Co. (ВА) jumped 3 percent to $81.48, its highest intraday level since June 2008. Emirates, the largest operator of Boeing’s 777 aircraft, said the U.S. manufacturer is getting closer to offering a new version that will seek to defend its lead against Airbus SAS in the wide-body market.

Apache Corp. advanced 3.3 percent to $75.96 as the fourth- largest U.S. independent oil and gas producer by market value may begin a process to sell deep-water assets in the Gulf of Mexico as early as next week, a person familiar with the matter said.

At the close:

DJIA 14,329.50 +33.25 0.23%

S&P 500 1,544.26 +2.80 0.18%

NASDAQ 3,232.09 +9.72 0.30%

Market Focus

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  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • German private sector output growth slowed for the second month running in July
  • ECB's Mersch says as conditions normalise, it is unlikely that uncoventional policies will remain necessary
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