Stocks: Tuesday's review
Most Japanese stocks fell after real-estate companies declined on concerns the March 11 temblor may hurt earnings and agriculture shares dropped as Tokyo Electric Power Co. failed to stop a radioactive water leak.
Mitsubishi Estate Co., the country’s biggest developer by market value, lost 2.5 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG lowered its rating on Japan’s real-estate industry to “market weight” from “overweight.”
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Japan’s the second-largest developer, slid 1.9 percent to 1,381 yen. Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., the No. 3, declined 3.4 percent to 1,633 yen.
Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc. (1334), which sells seafood, declined 1.7 percent as Tokyo Electric Power said radioactive water may be flowing into the sea through a different crack in a damaged reactor than initially thought.
The Nikkei 225 declined 12 percent in the Japanese fiscal year that finished March 31, and dropped 4.6 percent last quarter. Among the Topix’s industry groups, utility companies including Tokyo Electric Power tumbled the most last fiscal year, followed by brokerages, while oil refiners led gains.
Most European stocks rose, extending a three-week high for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as chemical makers advanced after Solvay SA (SOLB) agreed to buy Rhodia SA (RHA) for 3.4 billion euros ($4.8 billion).
Rhodia surged 48 percent in Paris trading, its biggest increase on record. Solvay agreed to buy the specialty chemicals producer for 31.60 euros a share as the Belgian maker of soda ash seeks to expand operations in emerging markets. Solvay gained 2.3 percent to 85.79 euros.
A gauge of chemical companies in the Stoxx 600 climbed to the highest level since at least 1987. Croda International Plc (CRDA), a supplier of ingredients for Nivea sunblock, gained 1.4 percent to 1,718 pence.
Leverkusen, Germany-based Lanxess AG (LXS) jumped 3.7 percent to 56.73 euros and France’s Arkema SA (AKE) gained 2.3 percent to 66.66 euros.
Nokian Renkaat Oyj (NRE1V) climbed 7.9 percent as Nordic region’s biggest tiremaker reported increased earnings and revenue.
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BMPS) fell 1.9 percent after a report the Italian bank may raise 2 billion euros in new capital.
Rio Tinto Group climbed 1.3 percent to 4,478 pence after analysts at Nomura Holdings Inc. said the third-largest mining company may double a share buyback plan to $10 billion after purchasing $800 million of stock, or 16 percent of the program announced in February.
The management’s share purchases have “progressed faster than expected,” Paul Cliff, a Nomura analyst, wrote in a note today. “They believe the buyback could take half as much time as initially scheduled,” he said after Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese visited the securities firm in London on April 1.
U.S. stocks were little changed Monday as investors took a wait-and-see approach about the economy.
The Dow was led higher by shares of General Electric (GE, Fortune 500), which rose 1% after an article in Barron's -- citing a Citigroup analyst -- noted that GE may not be liable for financial damage in Japan's nuclear crisis. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, Fortune 500) and Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) were also higher.
Technology shares were the biggest drag on all three major indexes, with Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) shares down 1%, Nvidia (NVDA) shares down 4%, and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, Fortune 500) shares down more than 1%.
But overall, Monday was relatively quiet. Fund managers noted that trading volume was light. There were also no major economic or company reports.
Companies: Southwest Airlines (LUV, Fortune 500) shares fell 2%. The Texas-based airline canceled about 600 flights over the weekend after a hole opened on top of a Boeing 737-300 mid-flight Friday.
Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500) shares rose 0.5% after the drugmaker announced it will sell its Capsugel capsule-making unit to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for $2.38 billion in cash.