Market Review

South African Markets

South African markets ended in positive territory yesterday. Markets await the South African consumer price inflation data for January slated for release later today. Eqstra Holdings surged 7.0%, after it estimated a rise in its headline EPS for 1H13. A hike in its headline EPS outlook for six months ended 31 December 2012 led Bidvest Group to close 2.2% higher. Anglo American Platinum rose 0.9%, after the company stated that it expects operations at its South African mines to resume on 20 February 2013, after its workers staged a one-day walk-out following violence at its mine in Rustenburg. On the other hand, Shoprite Holdings declined 3.1%, after its 1H13 results trailed market expectations. The JSE All Share Index rose 0.5% to close at 40,732.52.

UK Markets

UK markets ended in the green yesterday, as encouraging German economic sentiment data increased risk appetite amongst investors. Old Mutual gained 1.8%, following news that it is considering undertaking a partial flotation of its US asset management business. Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered gained between 1.2% and 2.4%. BP edged up 0.3%. The company stated that it intends to fight against the US government over the claims for fines related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On the flipside, InterContinental Hotels Group slipped 1.8%, after it stated that its revenue per available room declined in FY12. The FTSE 100 Index gained 1.0% to close at 6,379.07.

US Markets

US markets ended in the green yesterday, following upbeat eurozone and German ZEW economic sentiment data and amid a spree of merger activity in the US. OfficeMax and Office Depot rallied 20.9% and 9.4%, respectively, amid reports that both the companies are in talks for a merger and might announce a deal as early as this week. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers soared 8.9%, following record 4Q12 earnings. Sealed Air Corporation jumped 9.0%, after it swung to a 4Q12 profit. Regal Entertainment Group advanced 3.3%, after it agreed to acquire Hollywood Theaters for $238.00mn. The S&P 500 Index gained 0.7% to settle at 1,530.94, while the DJIA Index rose 0.4% to close at 14,035.67. The NASDAQ Composite Index jumped 0.7% to finish at 3,213.60.

Asian Markets

Asian markets are trading higher this morning, taking cues from overnight gains on Wall Street. In Japan, Orix Corporation advanced 2.8%, after the company announced that it would acquire asset-management firm, Robeco, from Dutch lender, Rabobank, for $2.56bn. In Hong Kong, SA International Holdings climbed 4.3%, on reports that the cosmetic retailer recorded a 30.0% annual growth in its retail business in Hong Kong and Macau during the first seven days of the Chinese New Year. In Seoul, automakers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors gained 2.1% and 1.3%, respectively, on improved global demand prospects. The Nikkei 225 Index is trading 0.7% up at 11,451.33, while the Kospi Index is trading 1.7% higher at 2,019.39. The Hang Seng Index has gained 0.3% to trade at 23,215.56.

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