Stocks: Monday's review
Japanese stocks fluctuated as China- related companies fell on concern the country’s economic growth will slow, while chip shares rose for a second day after Intel Corp. forecast sales that may exceed analyst estimates.
Komatsu Ltd., a machinery maker that receives 17 percent of its sales from China, sank 1 percent. Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan’s second-biggest operator of dry-bulk ships, dropped 1.1 percent. Tokyo Electron Ltd., the world’s No. 2 maker of semiconductor equipment, rose 3.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index in China, Japan’s top export destination, lost 2.6 percent after the central bank ordered lenders on Jan. 14 to boost reserves.
The Topix has risen 3.3 percent this year, driving the average price of shares in the index to 16 times estimated earnings on average, near the highest level since August.
The gauge sank 1 percent in 2010 as the yen at its strongest annual average level against the dollar since 1971 dimmed the outlook for export earnings, and as Europe’s debt crisis, China’s steps to curb inflation and concern about U.S. growth damped confidence in a global recovery.
Most European stocks declined as the region’s finance chiefs began meeting to work on a new strategy to contain the sovereign-debt crisis.
ARM Holdings Plc, which designs chips for Apple Inc.’s iPhone, slid 3 percent after Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs was granted a medical leave of absence. Banco Santander SA led a measure of banks lower. Smiths Group Plc jumped 7.7 percent after the world’s biggest maker of airport-security scanners rejected an offer for its Smiths Medical unit.
The benchmark Stoxx 600 advanced 0.1 percent to 284.06 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London as three stocks fell for each two that gained. The gauge climbed 1 percent last week as investors speculated that European leaders will increase their efforts to contain the region’s debt crisis.
National benchmark indexes fell in 13 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 dropped 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 0.3 percent and Germany’s DAX was little changed. Spain’s IBEX 35 tumbled 1 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB retreated 0.5 percent.