Morning Market News – March 30, 2012

Morning Market News - March 30, 2012

Every morning ValueWalk puts out a news report with the latest news in global stock markets, company news, and global economic news.

Market Levels



  • US:  Dow Futures: 13142.00 (0.49%), S&P 500 Futures: 1405.40 (0.51%), NASDAQ Futures: 2773.00 (0.53%)
  • Europe: CAC: 3423.45 (1.24%), DAX: 6940.44 (0.94%), FTSE: 5772.65 (0.53%).
  • Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4335.20 (-0.06%), China: 2262.79 (0.47%), Hong Kong: 20555.58 (-0.26%), India: 5295.55 (2.25%), Japan: 10083.56 (-0.31%).
  • Metals: Gold: 1666.00 (0.84%), Silver: 32.50 (1.59%), Copper: 3.83 (0.97%)
  • Energy: Crude Oil: 103.19 (0.40%), Natural Gas: 2.16 (0.37%)
  • Commodities: Corn: 6.05 (-2.85%), Soya Bean: 13.56 (-1.24%), Wheat: 6.14 (-3.16%)
  • Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3345 (0.32%), GBP/USD: 1.6015 (0.35%), USD/JPY: 82.0600 (-0.49%)
  • 10 year US Treasury: 2.150% (-0.009)




Market and Economy News Update



U.S. stock-index futures trading higher: U.S. markets are poised to open higher on the last trading day of the quarter, as investors await data on consumer confidence and spending. The Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ futures were all trading more than half a percent higher.


U.S. consumer spending, personal income rises in February: The Commerce Department said U.S. consumers increased their spending in February by 0.8 percent, the most in seven months. However mirroring January’s weak increase, income grew only 0.2 percent in February.



European markets firmly in the green: Markets were trading higher on Friday, led by banks and miners. Investors were reassured after euro zone finance ministers reached a deal to boost the currency bloc’s firewall. The euro zone’s blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.9 percent. The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) was up 0.7 percent, while the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) gained 1.5 percent and the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) jumped 1.2 percent.


Asian markets end mixed:  Asian markets ended mixed on Friday with Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) down 0.3 percent, the third consecutive down day. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) ended 0.47 percent higher, while the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) was also down 0.3 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index was marginally down but ended the week with a gain of 1.5 percent. India’s S&P CNX NIFTY (NSE:NIFTY) was the stand-out performer in the region, closing 2.25 percent higher



Japanese industrial production fell in February: According to the Japanese Trade Ministry, industrial production unexpectedly fell in February for the first time in three months. Factory output fell 1.2 percent in February, after a 1.9 percent gain in January. Analysts are hopeful that an improving global economy should increase overseas demand which will spur Japanese firms to produce more goods.


Chinese fund managers cut equity exposure to the lowest level in 21 months: A Reuters poll of nine China-based fund managers showed they slashed their equity exposure to 21-month lows, over fears that economic growth in China will drastically slowdown. The poll showed fund managers increased their exposure to bonds to 13.4 percent from 8.9 percent a month earlier.


Company News Update



  • BlackBerry-maker, Research In Motion Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:RIMM), yesterday after market close, reported revenue and profit that fell short of analysts’ estimates.
  • United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) jumped 1.2 percent in morning trade after Nomura International Plc initiated coverage on the steelmaker and rated it a “buy”.
  • Retailer Finish Line Inc (NASDAQ:FINL) slumped 8.5 percent after projecting a lower than expected 2013 earnings per share growth. The company reported better-than-expected revenue of $456 million for the quarter ended March 3.
  • Materials-handling equipment maker, Cascade Corporation (NYSE:CASC), reported fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.16, that were better than average analysts estimates.
  • Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE:WEC), the largest utility owner in the state, said earnings in the first quarter will be lower than forecast, after record warmth kept customers’ furnaces off.
  • Business software developer, Tibco Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TIBX) reported a better than expected first-quarter revenue of $225.7 million, and also said the company will undertake a $300 million share repurchase program.
  • InvenSense Inc (NYSE:INVN), the producer of gyroscopes for consumer electronics, was downgraded to “perform” from “outperform” at Oppenheimer & Co. The stock was down 4 percent in pre-market trading.



  • Vodafone Group plc (LON:VOD) (NASDAQ:VOD) declined 1.1 percent in London amid fears that a looming tax law change in India could see the company paying a tax of more than $2 billion on Vodafone for a 2007 acquisition.
  • A rise in metal prices saw British mining stocks surge, with Antofagasta PLC (LON:ANTO) up 3.5 percent, Vedanta Resources plc (LON:VED) gaining 3.6 percent and Anglo American plc (LON:AAL) increasing 3 percent.
  • AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) (NYSE:AZN) rose 0.3 percent after the U.S. District Court in New Jersey ruled that the formulation patent for the drug maker’s blockbuster drug Seroquel XR, for treating bipolar disorder, was valid.
  • Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, rallied 4.7 percent after UBS lifted the stock to “neutral” from “sell”.
  • Banks were trading higher in Frankfurt, with Commerzbank AG (FRA:CBK) up 2.8 percent and Deutsche Bank AG (FRA:DBK) (NYSE:DB) trading 1.4 percent higher.
  • HeidelbergCement AG (FRA:HEI) surged 4.8 percent after HSBC Holding Plc upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “neutral”, and the U.K. bank expects HeidelbergCement to continue its operational outperformance.



  • Industrial robot maker, Fanuc Ltd. (TYO:6954), fell 2.9 percent in Tokyo after UBS, citing the risk of a slowdown in global manufacturing, downgraded the stock to “sell”.
  • Asia’s largest property developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited (HKG:0016), which accounts for 2.5 percent of Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, tumbled 13 percent after anti-graft investigators arrested brothers Thomas and Raymond Kwok, the company’s co-chairmen, on suspicion of bribery.
  • The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (HKG:1398), the country’s biggest lender, jumped 1.6 percent after reporting a 17 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings. The results were announced yesterday after the markets closed.
  • PetroChina Company Limited (SHA:601857) (NYSE:PTR) , the world’s biggest listed producer of oil, reported a 26 percent drop in quarterly earnings, as refining losses outweighed strong energy demand and higher oil prices. The stock was trading 0.1 percent lower.
  • Bank of China (HKG:3988), one of the country’s four major state-owned lenders, saw its 2011 profit rise 18.9 percent. The stock closed 1.3 percent higher in Hong Kong.
  • Li Ning Co. Ltd. (HKG:2331), China’s leading sportswear brand, slumped 4.4 percent after profit fell 65 percent. The company however expects its gross profit margin to improve by 0.5-1.0 percentage point this year.
  • Ian Ashby, iron ore chief at BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) (LON:BLT) (NYSE:BHP) is stepping down after 25 years with the world’s biggest miner. The stock gained 1 percent in Sydney.


Economic Calendar for Friday, March 30, 2012:


08:30 A.M. ET:     Personal Income (MoM) (Feb)

08:30 A.M. ET:     Core Personal Consumption Expenditure – Price Index (MoM) (Feb)

08:30 A.M. ET:     Core Personal Consumption Expenditure – Prices Index (YoY) (Feb)

08:30 A.M. ET:     Personal Consumption Expenditures – Price Index (MoM) (Feb)

08:30 A.M. ET:     Personal Consumption Expenditure – Price Index (YoY) (Feb)

09:45 A.M. ET:     Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index (Mar)

09:55 A.M. ET:     Reuters/Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (Mar)