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Global Stock Market Review

Postby tuzemec » 24 Dec 2012, 12:15

S&P 500 Index

US stocks rose on Thursday amid better-than-expected US figures. US GDP for the last quarter was revised up to 3.1% from 2.8%, while Philadelphia-region manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in eight months in December. US housing market also showed signs of recovery. However, persistent uncertainty over the US budget agreement continued to weight on the US equities. The S&P 500 Index advanced 0.55% to finish at 1,443.69. All sectors within the index swung to gains. The top-performers were financials and basic materials. BB&T and Comerica added 0.44% and 0.83% while Allegheny Technologies and Eastman Chemical Company climbed 1.86% and 1.40%. The top-gainer was NYSE Euronext, surging 34.30% after the company announced that it has agreed to be acquired by ICE for USD8.2 billion in cash and stock. Intercontinentalexchange gained 1.40% after the announcement. On the upside was also Amazon.Com, jumping 1.36% as its Amazon Studios is planning to produce six comedy series pilots.

Dow Jones Industrial Average Index

Dow climbed, being supported by upbeat US data. US economy grew faster than initially estimated in the last quarter. Moreover, manufacturing activity as well as real estate market showed positive signals. However, market participants remained cautious as US lawmakers seem to be running out of time to agree on the fiscal policy. The Dow Jones Industrials Average Index jumped 0.45% to end Thursday’s session at 13,311.72. All but one sector included in the index moved higher. The top-gainers were lenders and basic material producers, surging 1.26% and 1.01%. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co advanced 2.95% and 2.30%. Among basic material producers, EI du Pont de Nemours & Co and Alcoa rose 1.07% and 0.69%. At the same time, health care firms capped gains of the US blue chips index. Merck & Co dropped 3.39% after the medical trail indicated that its medicine fails to protect against heart attacks. Caterpillar slumped 1.42% as its global sales grew only by 5% between September and November due to weaker demand in North America.

Nikkei 225 Index

Japanese shares tumbled on Friday amid fading hopes that US officials will manage to resolve a budget dispute timely. Moreover, investors were locking in gains before a three-day Christmas weekend. Depressing Japanese equities further, BoJ announced only modest easing on Thursday. However, sharp gains of the US equities as well as upbeat US data limited the downswing. The Nikkei 225 Index lost 0.99% to end the week below 10,000-mark at 9,940.06. Only four in ten industries climbed. Financials and oil and gas companies posted the biggest gains. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings and Inpex Corp edged up 0.68% and 1.43%. Meanwhile, property developers were also among the top-gainers, with Tokyo Tatemono and Heiwa Real Estate climbing 7.16% and 3.49% amid speculation that the inflation target will help to cut borrowing costs. Tokai Carbon surged 10.34% after Daiwa Securities Group raised its share rating to “buy”. At the same time, industrials and basic materials led losses, with Mitsumi Electric and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal tumbling 3.98% and 4.31%.

Hang Seng Index

Hong Kong equities ended the week in the red territory as lack of progress in the US budget talks weighted on the risk sentiment. However, strong gains of US counterparts capped losses of Hong Kong stocks. The Hang Seng Index dropped 0.68% to close at 22,506.29. Eight out of nine sectors plunged. The only gainer was utility industry, with Power Assets climbing 0.31%. Real estate companies also moved higher after the recent data showed that home prices continued to increase at moderate pace last month. China Resources Land and Hang Lung Properties rallied 2.19% and 0.67%. Meanwhile, financials were mixed. Bank of East Asia added 0.17% whereas Bank of Communications and ICBC tumbled 2.24% and 2.14%. Esprit Holdings extended previous losses, plunging 2.54% on speculation that the firm may record a loss for the second half of 2012 due to weak operating results. China Coal dipped 2.04% despite potential increase in China’s coal demand. China’s coal consumption is likely to reach 4.8 billion to 5.3 billion tonnes by 2020, according to National Coal Association.

FTSE 100 Index

UK stocks are trading sharply lower on Friday after the UK GDP growth for Q3 for revised down from 1% to 0.9%. Moreover, the national deficit widened to GBP17.5 billion, excluding government’s aid for banks, while experts predicted the deficit to reach GBP16 billion in Q3. Adding to the negative mood of the index, UK consumer confidence retreated from 18-month high in December. The FTSE 100 Index dipped 0.88% to trade at 5,905.81. All but one sectors tanked. Utility sector was the only gainer, with United Utilities and National Grid climbing 1.41% and 0.21%. Carnival managed to add 2.63% despite a recent report showing an annual fall in profits of 43% in the last quarter. At the same time, technology firms and banks created the heaviest pressure on the UK blue chips. Among technology stocks, Sage Group slid 1.28%. Lenders remained under pressure after the BoE increased capital requirements for banks. Shares of Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds Banking Group tumbled 2.57%, 2.39% and 2.05%, respectively.

DAX Index

German equities dropped from a five-week high after US House Republicans cancelled vote on a tax hike for wealthy individuals, raising concerns that US lawmakers will not manage to agree on the next year’s budget. Negative data from the UK and weakness of Asian equities also weighed on German shares. The DAX Index lost 0.53% to trade at 7,627.94 at 11:30 GMT. All industries within the index sank. Among gainers, Infineon Technologies jumped 0.82% after JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted the company’s stock recommendation to ‘overweight’, equivalent to ‘buy’ rating. Moreover, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised price estimate for the firm from EUR4.50 to EUR9, citing strong position of Infineon Technologies in auto and industrial markets. Meanwhile, the top-losers were banks and technology firms. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank led losses, plunging 3.61% and 2.58%, while SAP dipped 0.93%.
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