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E.L. & C. Baillieu Morning Wrap; European stock markets finish April in a downbeat mood

Proactive Investors
Monday, 30 April 2012

*Author: E.L. & C. Baillieu Stockbroking - by Andrew Thain*

 

*HEADLINES*

- Stocks fell, while the euro weakened for a third day against the yen, as reports showed Spain entered its second recession since 2009 and U.S. business activity cooled. Treasuries and German bunds advanced.

- European stock markets finished April in a downbeat mood, falling Monday as Spain's banks came under pressure after a round of credit rating downgrades and weak growth data for the country, while lacklustre U.S. manufacturing figures added to the negative sentiment.

- Oil futures ended virtually unchanged after spending most of the session lower, weighed by a weaker stock market and fresh concerns about Europe's economic outlook.

- Gold futures ended nearly unchanged, after a large early-morning sell order roiled traders and slashed prices by almost $15.*US MARKETS*

Stocks fell, while the euro weakened for a third day against the yen, as reports showed Spain entered its second recession since 2009 and U.S. business activity cooled.

Treasuries and German bunds advanced. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.4 percent to 1,397.91 at 4 p.m. in New York and snapped its longest streak of monthly gains since 2009.

The S&P 500 extended its April retreat to 0.7 percent. The index snapped a string of four monthly gains, its longest streak in more than two years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 14.68 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,213.63 to trim its monthly advance to 0.01 percent. The 30-stock Dow capped its seventh straight monthly advance, the longest streak since 2007.

Humana Inc. (HUM), the second-biggest provider of U.S.-backed Medicare insurance, retreated 8.1 percent today as profit declined.

Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) soared 52 percent, its biggest gain ever, after Microsoft Corp. said it will invest $300 million in a venture with the bookstore chain.

Stocks retreated as the ISM-Chicago’s business barometer decreased to 56.2 during the month, lower than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. Economists projected the gauge would fall to 60, according to the median of 55 estimates in the survey.*EUROPEAN MARKETS*

European stock markets finished April in a downbeat mood, falling Monday as Spain's banks came under pressure after a round of credit-rating downgrades and weak growth data for the country, while lackluster U.S. manufacturing figures added to the negative sentiment.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.7% to 257.28, giving it a loss of 2.3% for April. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index fell 0.7% to 5737.78 and Germany's DAX slipped 0.6% to 6761.19.

France's CAC-40 dropped 1.6% to 3212.80, concluding a weak month in which it fell 6.2%. Italy's FTSE MIB slid 1.3% to 14592.34.

European stocks extended losses in afternoon trade as U.S. manufacturing data was disappointing. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago's business barometer fell to 56.2 in April from last month's 62.2, hitting a 29-month low and missing economists' forecasts.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Texas manufacturing production index fell to 5.6 this month from 11.1 in March.*ASIAN MARKETS*

Hong Kong stocks led gains for Asian markets on Monday, with mainland Chinese banks and coal miners fueling the rise on the back of strong earnings.

However, demand for equities was contained ahead of key events, such as the Reserve Bank of Australia's rate decision and manufacturing data from China on Tuesday, while Spain is scheduled to hold debt auctions later in the week.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.7% to 21094.21, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.8% to 4396.60, South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.3% to 1981.99 and Taiwan's Taiex gained 0.3% to 7501.72.

Financial stocks led the charge, with Bank of Communications jumping 3.6%, Agricultural Bank of China gaining 1.9%, China Merchants Bank adding 2.6%, China Citic Bank gaining 3.1% and China Construction Bank climbing 2.2% after reporting quarterly results last week.*AUSTRALIAN MARKETS*

Australian shares have hit a nine-month high and outperformed major global markets during April as speculation of a Reserve Bank of Australia rate cut gave investors more reason to feel optimistic about the economy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose by 34 points or 0.79 per cent yesterday to close at 4396, the highest it has been since August 2, 2011. The All Ordinaries Index added 34 points or 0.76 per cent to 4467.*OIL*

Oil futures ended virtually unchanged after spending most of the session lower, weighed by a weaker stock market and fresh concerns about Europe's economic outlook.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery settled six cents, or 0.1%, lower at $104.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange traded 37 cents lower, or 0.3%, at $119.46 a barrel.*METALS*

Gold futures ended nearly unchanged, after a large early-morning sell order roiled traders and slashed prices by almost $15.

The CME Group Inc.'s Comex division recorded an unusually large transaction of 7,500 gold futures during one minute of trading at 8:31 a.m. EDT. The sale took out blocks of bids as large as 84 contracts in one fell swoop and cut prices down to $1,648.80 a troy ounce. The overall transaction was worth more than $1.24 billion.

 

Andrew Thain can be contacted by email; CLICK HERE.

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*Proactive Investors is a market leader in the investment news space, providing ASX “Small and Mid-cap” company news, research reports, StockTube videos and One2One Investor Forums.*
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Source: Bloomberg - on April 30, 2012

News video: Harris Says Global Stock Markets May Fall Further 10%

Harris Says Global Stock Markets May Fall Further 10%

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Richard Harris, founder of Port Shelter Investment Management, talks about the outlook for global stock markets. Harris also discusses the European debt crisis, U.S. growth prospects and economic issues facing China. He speaks in H

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