US: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to its highest level since June 2008 on Wednesday after existing-home sales rose by more than forecast last month and encouraging earnings from Tuesday boosted technology stocks higher.
After markets closed at 4:00pm, Apple announced a stunning fiscal 2011 second quarter, which ended March 26, 2011, with 83% revenue growth, 95% profit growth record and iPhone sales up 113%.
Apple's results and outlook pushed up its shares in after-hours trading by 3.9% to $355.69 at $342.41. The market capitalisation was $315.45bn compared with Microsoft's $216.45bn and Dell's $28.94bn.
Japan: The impact of last month's
devastating quake and tsunami disaster will cut Japan's economic growth to 0.8% this year, the OECD said Thursday, halving its previous forecast of
UK retail sales expected to contract in March: Davy economist, Conall Mac Coille, comments - - "The outlook for UK consumer spending has deteriorated as weak nominal wage growth, coupled with higher tax rates and CPI inflation, has pushed down on real incomes. Since January, the rise in the value added tax (VAT) rate by 2.5 percentage points to 20% and higher oil prices have had a large negative impact on UK consumers' spending power. Hence, measures of UK consumer confidence have declined through the second half of 2010 as consumers have realised that the negative impact of the planned fiscal consolidation was upon them. Other indicators for spending, ahead of today's retail sales data, have indicated deteriorating conditions in the retail sector.
Today's release of UK retail sales is expected to show a contraction of 0.4% on the month in March following a 1% decline in February. In January, retail sales grew by 1.1% despite the increase in VAT rates during that month. But the rise in January most likely reflected a bounce-back from the 0.5% decline in December, which most likely reflected poor weather conditions during that month. So the full impact of the slowdown in retail sales on consumer spending may not be felt until the Q2 national accounts data.
Yesterday's release by the Bank of England of the minutes of the April Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting suggests that the weakness of consumer spending is pushing out the likelihood of rate increases in the near future. Most members thought that the news on the month 'had probably been to the downside.' That said, the MPC warned that CPI inflation could still rise above 5% in 2011 despite the recent decline in the headline rate to 4.0% in March from 4.4% in February. However, a rate rise in May now seems far from the certainty that the market had priced up until the recent negative news on the UK consumer."
European Peripheral Debt: Folker Hellmeyer, chief analyst at Bremer Landesbank, comments on the widening credit default swaps of Greece and Portugal:
Economic View: State considers asset sales; Goodbody economist, Juliet Tennent, comments - -"According to the Report of the Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities, released yesterday, the NAV of the commercial State assets that it is recommending are sold is around €5bn, which the report also caveats is no more that a rough guide. As the Memorandum of Understanding between Ireland and the IMF/EU does not specify a target for asset disposals, any proceeds of such sales could be used to reduce the State’s projected gross debt position.
It would have no impact on the deficit
position which would nevertheless have to be tackled and the ongoing austerity
measures would still have to be implemented. The report recommends a planned
programme of asset sales, as opposed to an accelerated process, thus it may be
some years before any value is realized.
Irish Financials; Legal challenge to AIB
debt restructuring; Goodbody's Colm Foley comments
- -"We note the Government’s plans to buy back some of
AIB’s subordinated debt have been met with a legal challenge from two of its
Sweden: ‘The Canada of Europe’: "They’ve got good economic growth, they’ve got a good underlying export-based economy, so I don’t think we should be worried about this, but I think we should keep a good eye on it,” Tim Skeet, managing director of the Financial Institution Group at RBS, told CNBC about the Swedish economy and unemployment rate:
In New York Wednesday, the Dow rose 187 points or 1.52% to 12,453.
The S&P 500 added 1.35% and the Nasdaq advanced 2.10%.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.3% Thursday.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.82%; China's Shanghai composite index added 0.65%; Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.13% and the Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex index increased 0.78% in Mumbai.
In Europe, the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is up 0.12% in early trading Thursday.
The ISEQ has risen 1.17% in Dublin.
CRH is up 3.35%; Elan has risen by 0.17%; Grafton has climbed 2.61%.
The euro is trading at $1.4620 and at £0.8867.
For live currency updates, check the right-hand column of the Finfacts home page.
The US dollar fell to $1.6038 per euro on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - an-all time record.
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for dry commodities, hit an all-time High of 11,771 on the 21st of May, 2008. From that time it reversed and on the 5th of December, 2008 it hit a low of 663 - - close to a 1986 low.
The BDI closed at 3,005 on Thursday, Dec 31st - - a rise of 289% in 2009. The index averaged 59% lower in 2009 than a year earlier.
On Thursday, July 15, 2010, the index fell for the 35th straight session, by 9 points, or 0.537%, to 1,700 points, Bloomberg report.
On Friday July16th, the BDI rose 20 points or 1.12% to 1,700 to break the 35-session losing streak.
On Wednesday this week, the BDI slipped 9 points or 0.71% at 1,262.
The Financial Times reported
earlier in January, that Australia’s flooding and fears of ship oversupply has
pushed down a gauge of the cost of hiring ships to carry coal, iron ore and
other dry bulk by nearly half since October to the lowest level since the
aftermath of the financial crisis. The Baltic Dry index, the widely watched
measure of dry bulk charter rates, fell to 1,453, nearly half the 2,784 peak
reached on October 27, 2010.
margin between the US benchmark WTI (West Texas Intermediate) used on the New
York Mercantile Exchange and Brent is over $12.
The spot price of an oz of gold is trading in New York at $1,506.80, up $4.40 from Wednesday's close.
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