Asian markets rose moderately thanks to Thursday’s upbeat US data. The Nikkei rose .3% to 8402, the Kospi jumped 1.2%, and the ASX 200 rose by .5%. China’s markets surged on hopes for central bank easing in the mainland. The Shanghai Composite rallied 2% to 2225, and the Hang Seng advanced 1.4%.
European markets closed lower, as concerns over possible debt downgrades intensified. The CAC40 slumped .9%, the DAC dropped .5%, and the FTSE lost .3%. Bucking the downtrend, miners rallied, lifted by a bounce in metal prices. Nokia shares declined more than 3% after Research in Motion’s weak earnings weighed on the mobile sector.
In the US, the major indexes closed mixed.The Nasdaq gained .6%, the S&P 500 rose .3%, while the Dow slipped fractionally. The Dow had opened sharply higher, but those gains evaporated by the afternoon.
Dow Ends Flat, Surrendering Early Gains
Dow Jones Indu Average Index
Adobe shares climbed 6.6% after reporting solid earnings, while Research in Motion tumbled 11.2% after weak profits and a dismal outlook.Currencies
The Dollar traded mostly lower on Friday, easing slightly after a strong week. The Euro and Pound both rose .2% to 1.3042 and 1.5546 respectively. The Australian Dollar and Swiss Franc rallied .4%. The Yen edged up .2% to 77.74, while the Canadian Dollar lagged behind, dropping .4% to 1.0384.
China’s yuan reached a record high of 6.3294, which was attributed to intervention by the central bank, in an effort to challenge short sellers.Economic Outlook
Friday’s CPI data was mixed, as core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose more than expected, while the broader CPI, remained flat. A drop off in inflation could potentially pave the way for additional easing from the Fed.
US Stocks Drop on ECB DisappointmentEquities
News that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong il, had died, weighed on Asian markets amid concern for the region’s stability. South Korean shares tumbled, with the Kospi closing down 3.4%, after dropping as much as 4.9%. The Nikkei lost 1.3% to 8296, the ASX 200 dropped 2.4%, and the Hang Seng shed 1.2%. China’s Shanghai Composite outperformed, easing a mere .3%, as it erased an earlier drop of 2.6%.
European markets traded mixed, following a speech by ECB president, Mario Draghi, in which he offered no new stability plans. The DAX fell .5%, and the FTSE lost .4%, while the CAC40 inched up fractionally.Currencies
The Dollar traded modestly higher against world currencies, in a light session. The Euro dropped .4% to 1.2996, the Pound declined .3% to 1.5498, and the Yen fell .4% to 78.04. The Australian Dollar sank .8% to .9888.Economic Outlook
The NAHB housing market index rose from 19 to 21 last month, in line with expectations, posted its 3rd straight gain. Additional housing data is due on Tuesday, when the government will release reports on housing starts and building permits.
Western Markets Soar on Upbeat DataEquities
Asian markets traded mixed as the region calmed following Monday’s slide. Korean shares partially recovered from Monday’s slide, gaining .9%, and the Nikkei rose .5% to 8336, led by a 155 jump in Olympus shares. The ASX 200 slid .2%, the Shanghai Composite slipped .1%, while the Hang Seng edged up fractionally.
European markets surged, boosted by impressive US housing data, and a jump in German business sentiment. The DAX jumped 3.1%, the CAC40 rallied 2.7%, and the FTSE climbed by 1%. The automobile sector advanced by 5.1%, lifted by the bullish outlook. A Spanish short-term debt auction saw yields drop sharply from a month ago, a positive sign for the debt crisis.
The S&P 500 Surges 3%
S&P 500 Index
Jefferies shares rocketed 23% higher after reporting earnings which far exceeded analyst expectations.Currencies
The Australian Dollar soared 1.8% to 1.0075 as investors switched to “risk on”. The Pound climbed 1% to 1.5659, the Canadian Dollar gained .8% to 1.0300, and the Euro rose by .6% to 1.3078.Economic Outlook
Housing starts and building permits both rose by 50K, far better than the 10K gain forecast by analysts, a strong sign that the housing market is on the rebound.
ECB Offers 489 Billion Euro Liquidity BoostEquities
Asian markets advanced on Wednesday, buoyed by strong Tuesday’s outstanding US housing data. The Nikkei gained 1.5% to 8460, the Kospi jumped 3.1%, and the ASX 200 rallied 2.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.9% to 18416, while China’s Shanghai Composite bucked the uptrend, sliding 1.1% to 2191.
European markets declined, as a morning spike faded. The DAX fell 1% to 5792, the CAC40 dropped .8% and the FTSE declined .6% to 5390. The ECB offered 489 billion euros in 3-year notes, in an effort to increase liquidity to struggling banks.
Germany's DAX Slides 1%, Erasing Morning Gains
German Se Xetra Dax Index
US markets closed mixed as the Nasdaq dropped 1%, while the S&P 500 gained .2%, and the Dow inched up 4 points.Currencies
The major currencies swung widely in a volatile session, as the ECB’s efforts triggered a brief dollar selloff which quickly reversed. The Euro closed down .3% to 1.3048, after spiking as high as 1.3188 earlier in the day. The Australian Dollar rose by .2% to 1.0092, the Pound edged up .1% to 1.5676. and the Canadian Dollar settled up .3% to 1.0263.Economic Outlook
Existing home sales rose by much less than forecast, climbing to 4.42M from 4.25M, as opposed to a forecast of 5.04 million.