Markets & Finance

Asia Closes Lower


European stock markets were mixed on Thursday. In London the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index fell 6.0 points to 5005.00 on profit-taking as CIPS' May UK construction PMI slowed to 52.6 from 54.8 in April. But the index was still above the key 50.0 growth level. House prices rose 0.3% in May. 54 FTSE stocks fell and 45 rose on turnover of 1,513,000,000 shares. Yields on 10-year gilts fell to 4.23% from 4.24% yesterday. Sterling was up at $1.8165. July Brent crude oil futures were flat. Tate & Lyle fell after company said fiscal full-year net income dropped 9%. Alliance & Leicester fell as Merrill Lynch downgraded stock to "sell" from "neutral". Johnson Matthey rose after company said its second half earnings growth will pick up.

In Germany, the DAX Index rose 5.00 points to 4532.17. 15 DAX stocks rose, 14 fell on turnover of 107,153,000 shares. Yields on 10-year Bunds fell to 3.20% from 3.23% yesterday. The euro was up at $1.2274. GPC Biotech rose after a European Union drug agency committee recommended its 1D09C3 anti-cancer antibody for orphan-drug status. HVB Group fell after Morgan Stanley cut its recommendation on HVB's Austrian unit to "underweight" from "equal weight". Jenoptik fell after company said it canceled a sale of shares in its M+W Zander unit planned for the first half and WestLB cut company's shares to "neutral" from "outperform". BMW rose after Citigroup raised its rating on stock to "buy" from "hold". DaimlerChrysler rose after carmaker said full-year profit will increase "slightly".

France's CAC 40 rose 5.47 points to 4183.72 as euro recovered from 8-month low even though the European Central Bank left rates unchanged and said it has no current intentions to cut rates. 20 CAC stocks fell, 17 rose on turnover of 97,875,000 shares. Yields of 10-year bonds fell to 3.22% from 3.24% yesterday. Credit Agricole rose after company reported higher earnings. Thales rose after Finmecanica confirmed interest in tie ups with France's defense industry. EADS fell on report company's CFO conceded Boeing could overtake Airbus in volume of orders this year. Hermes rose after company said it might cut its Leica stake.

Asian markets closed lower on Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 49.62 points, or 0.44%, to 11,280.05. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 slid 49.62 points, and the broader TOPIX dipped 0.64 point, or 0.06%, to 1148.85 at the close, due to profit-taking following gains made in the past five consecutive sessions. Decliners outpaced advancers on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange 931 to 596, with 120 issues unchanged. Volume has not been impressive. Tech names such as Advantest and Tokyo Electron edged lower. On the upside, Daiwa Seiko jumped 8.89% to 196 yen, after UBS rated "BUY 2" on the share, and noted that the company would likely to post a net profit for the current business year following losses made in the past three consecutive years. In addition, Softbank rose 5.1% to 4,120 yen on rising hope that the company would be given license to operate mobile phone services.

In Hong Kong, the the Hang Seng fell 58.49 points, or 0.42%, to 13,814.58. The index finished lower as worries over rising oil prices and a lukewarm response to Shenhua Energy, which aims to raise $3.6 billion in the world's biggest IPO so far this year, by institutional investors tempered gains.

Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P loses 27.52 points, or 0.28%, to close at 9,626.64.


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