FROM MORRISON SECURITIES PTY. LTD:
The Dow industrials broke a six-session losing streak Thursday
as a potential breakthrough by Greek political leaders eased
immediate concerns about the country's exit from the euro
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 19.98 points, or 0.2%,
to 12855.04. Blue chips survived a last-minute swoon, after
having turned negative in the final minutes of the session, to
snap their longest losing streak since August.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index advanced 3.41
points, or 0.3%, to 1357.99, as utility and telecommunications
stocks led the market higher.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.07 points, less
than 0.1%, to 2933.64 as Cisco Systems slumped 11%. The
networking-equipment company gave a downbeat outlook for the
quarter ahead, warning that big customers were exercising caution
with technology spending.
U.S. stocks followed gains in Europe, where hopes rose that
Greece might cobble together a government and prevent a fractious
In economic news, a weekly labor-market report beat
expectations. Claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last
week versus expectations for claims to rise, though a reading on
the previous week was revised slightly higher.
Separately, the U.S. trade deficit widened in March, as a wave
of oil imports and Chinese goods overwhelmed record exports.
In corporate news, Priceline.com fell 5.3% after the
online-travel booker reported first-quarter earnings that
exceeded forecasts but provided a cautious outlook for the second
quarter. Avon Products gained 3.3% after Coty Inc. boosted its
bid to buy the company to $24.75 a share and disclosed Warren
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is participating in its bidding
EUROPEAN STOCK MARKETS
European equities rose Thursday as Spanish and Greek stocks
bounced back from recent declines, while better-than-expected
results from UniCredit SpA boosted financials.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended 0.6% higher at 251.10. Shares
of Hennes & Mauritz AB rose 0.9% after UBS upgraded the
clothing retailer to buy from neutral.
Oil major Total SA jumped 1.9% as oil prices rose. Among
financials, shares of Dutch insurer and pensions group Aegon NV
soared 10.1% after reporting a surprise increase in first-quarter
The sector also got a lift from UniCredit after the Italian
lender reported a 13% increase in first-quarter net profit,
beating the consensus forecast of analysts polled by Dow Jones
Newswires. Its shares rose 6.8%.
Peripheral markets such as Italy's led Europe higher: The FTSE
MIB Italy index rose 1.7% to 14,004.9. In Spain, a move by the
government late Wednesday to take a 45% stake in Bankia SA,
effectively nationalizing the troubled lender, caused the IBEX 35
The index rose 3.2% to 7,034, more than reversing a 3% tumble
in the prior session on banking-sector worries. Bankia's shares
closed 0.3% lower.
Shares of BBVA SA soared 6% and Banco Santander SA jumped
5.6%. Meanwhile, shares of oil major Repsol SA soared 8.2% after
reporting improved first-quarter profit driven by higher oil
The government is expected to announce a cleanup of its
banking sector Friday. Greece's Athens General Index surged 4.2%
to 640.91. Shares of National Bank of Greece SA surged more than
Late Wednesday, the European Financial Stability Facility said
Greece will get most of its next aid tranche on schedule despite
political turmoil in the country.
Political uncertainty remained as Evangelos Venizelos, leader
of the Socialist party, took his turn attempting to form a
government after last weekend's splintered parliamentary election
Elsewhere, the French CAC 40 index ended 0.4% higher at
3,130.17. Shares of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and L'Oreal
SA both shed 1.7%. Pernod Ricard SA dropped 0.6% and Danone SA
gave up 0.8%.
Among gainers, Peugeot SA rose 8.1% after a broker upgrade.
London's FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% to close at 5,543.95, supported
by a 1% advance for HSBC Holdings PLC and gains for mining stocks
such as Rio Tinto PLC, up 0.7%.
The German DAX 30 index gained 0.7% to 6,518, led by a 2.7%
rally for Deutsche Bank AG and a 1% advance for Allianz SE.
Shares of Deutsche Telekom AG surged 3% after first-quarter
profit topped estimates.
ASIA-PACIFIC STOCK MARKETS
Asian markets edged lower after disappointing China trade
data, while India's rupee rallied after the government imposed
foreign-exchange restrictions aimed at halting the currency's
The Nikkei fell 0.4% to 9009.65 after earlier dropping below
9000 for the first time since February.
Continuing the trend of Japanese companies offering healthy
forecasts, Toyota Motor Corp rose 0.8% after it released
operating profit guidance of Y1 trillion for the year ending
Korea's KOSPI fell 0.3% to 1944.93, Hong Kong's Hang Seng
Index was down 0.5% at 20227.28 and China's Shanghai SE Composite
closed flat at 2410.23.
Although ongoing coalition talks in Greece and the high cost
of Spanish borrowing remained a concern, markets struggled to
find a direction in early trade but then fell after China posted
a wider trade surplus due to weak imports, reflecting sluggish
performance in the world's second biggest economy.
China will release more data on Friday, including industrial
output, retail sales, and inflation figures.
In China, brokerages were among the most active gainers,
benefiting from bargain hunting after suffering sharp losses
earlier in the week.
Sinolink Securities was up 1.4% at CNY14.36 and Huatai
Securities was up 0.8% to CNY10.12. Medical equipment, machinery
and furniture stocks were also did well, as investors rotated
holdings during a bout of market consolidation.
Lepu Medical Technology was up 3.7% at CNY14.99 and Changsha
Sinocare gained 2.9% to CNY39.90. In Hong Kong, China-related
financial shares were the among the day's biggest blue-chip
Bank of Communications was down 0.9% at HK$5.53, while Ping An
Insurance was down 0.5% at HK$61.70. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.
fell 6.3% after warning late Wednesday that first-half financial
results will be "disappointing" as high fuel costs persist,
prompting the airline to cut flights and seek cost cuts.
Base metals closed mixed on the London Metal Exchange
Thursday, stabilizing in line with stock markets and the euro
after U.S. jobless data came in lower than expected and signs
emerged that Greek leaders could form a government and shore up
its commitment to remain in the euro zone.
At the close, LME three-month copper was 0.6% higher at $8,100
a metric ton, while zinc closed 1.3% higher at $1,969/ton. U.S.
crude oil futures settled modestly higher Thursday, snapping a
six-day losing streak that slashed prices by 8.8% to three-month
Light, sweet crude oil for June delivery on the New York
Mercantile Exchange settled 27 cents higher, at $97.08 a barrel.
ICE June North Sea Brent crude settled 47 cents lower, at $112.73
a barrel, matching Tuesday's price, which was the lowest since
Traders said the pause in the downfall came amid light volume
and position adjustments by commodity funds, which normally roll
their holdings into the forward contracts around this time of the
Gold futures eked out a slight gain, rising for the first time
this week as relative calm in Europe drew buyers back to the
precious metal after a three-day selloff. The most-actively
traded gold contract, for June delivery, rose $1.30, or 0.1%, to
settle at $1,595.50 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New
York Mercantile Exchange
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