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South African Markets
South African markets ended marginally lower on Friday. Retailers, Lewis Group, Truworths International and Mr Price Group declined 3.6%, 3.0% and 1.3%, respectively. Exxaro Resources lost 1.1%, after it forecast a substantial decline in its FY12 earnings. On the other hand, Curro Holdings rallied 4.7%, after it reported robust FY12 results. Pioneer Foods climbed 3.2%, after it announced the appointment of Phil Roux as its new CEO. ArcelorMittal South Africa gained 2.1%. The company stated that it expects operations at its Vanderbijlpark plant, which was hit by fire, to resume in March 2013. Northam Platinum added 1.0%, despite reporting a drop in its 1H13 earnings. The JSE All Share Index eased 12.27 points to close at 39,657.82.
UK markets closed higher on Friday, as encouraging German business confidence data lifted investor sentiment. Polymetal International rallied 3.9%, amid speculation of its merger with Polyus Gold. Vodafone Group advanced 1.9%, following reports that the company has been chosen by ThyssenKrupp AG to provide mobile services in 30 countries. Energy stocks, Tullow Oil, BG Group and Petrofac gained 1.8%, 1.6% and 1.1%, respectively. Banks, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC Holdings and Barclays gained 1.7%, 0.7% and 0.2%, respectively, amid increased risk appetite amongst investors. Burberry Group rose 1.0%, amid speculation that LVMH could acquire Burberry Group to boost its revenues. The FTSE 100 Index jumped 0.7% to close at 6,335.70.
US markets ended in the green on Friday, after data showed that the German Ifo sentiment indices climbed more-than-expected in February. WebMD Health Corporation soared 25.4%, following robust 4Q12 revenue. Barnes Group surged 14.8%, after it posted better-than-forecast 4Q12 earnings. Hewlett-Packard jumped 12.3%, on the back of upbeat 1Q13 results. Better-than-forecast 4Q12 results led Cabot Oil & Gas 11.1% higher. AIG advanced 3.1%, after it posted encouraging 4Q12 operating earnings. However, Abercrombie & Fitch slumped 4.5%, following dismal FY13 outlook. The S&P 500 Index added 0.9% to settle at 1,515.60, while the DJIA Index rose 0.9% to close at 14,000.57. The NASDAQ Composite Index jumped 1.0% to finish at 3,161.82.
Asian markets are trading mostly firmer this morning, amid speculation that the Asia Development Bank Chief, Haruhiko Kuroda, would become the next governor of the Bank of Japan. In Japan, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha surged 9.3%, after Danish company, A P Moeller-Maersk A/S, indicated that growth in global container demand would accelerate. Exporters, Sony and Olympus rose 2.6% and 2.4%, respectively. In Hong Kong, Clear Media added 0.9%, after its Executive Chairman stated that the company is looking for acquisitions this year to expand its business scope. In Seoul, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors slid 0.9% and 0.4%, respectively. The Nikkei 225 Index is trading 1.9% higher at 11,607.70, while the Kospi Index is trading 0.1% lower at 2,016.30. The Hang Seng Index has gained 0.1% to trade at 22,811.19.
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