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South African Markets
South African markets ended in the green yesterday, ahead of the domestic 4Q12 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data scheduled for release later in the day. Sun International surged 7.2%, following robust 1H13 earnings results. An increase in its 1H13 revenue and earnings led Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon to rally 2.4%. Nedbank Group gained 0.8%, after it reported a rise in its FY12 headline earnings. An upbeat 1H13 earnings forecast led FirstRand to add 0.8%. On the contrary, Intu Properties declined 2.6%, after the company confirmed that that it is in talks to acquire the Midsummer Place Shopping Centre from Legal & General Property. Distell Group shed 0.5%, despite reporting a rise in its 1H13 earnings. The JSE All Share Index rose 0.3% to close at 39,787.96.
UK markets closed in positive territory yesterday. Royal Bank of Scotland Group climbed 2.8%, amid reports that the lender might sell between 15.0% and 25.0% stake in its Citizens Financial Group unit to the public. BP gained 1.6%, amid reports that the US Justice Department and Gulf Coast states were considering offering a deal to settle civil claims related to the Deepwater Horizon accident. Barclays and HSBC Holdings advanced 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively. Miners, Glencore, Anglo American and Xstrata rose 2.2%, 2.0% and 1.8%, respectively. Bucking the trend, Pearson dropped 3.7%, after it reported a decline in its FY12 pre-tax profit and projected a challenging outlook for FY13. The FTSE 100 Index gained 0.3% to close at 6,355.37.
US markets ended lower yesterday, as early exit polls in Italy reignited concerns over the eurozone debt crisis. Dynavax Technologies plummeted 32.3%, after the US Food and Drug Administration rejected its hepatitis B vaccine. ITT Educational Services tumbled 16.6%, after it revealed that US regulators demanded documents related to private loan programs for its students. Chesapeake Energy declined 6.8%, after it agreed to sell its 50.0% stake in an Oklahoma oilfield to Sinopec for a discounted value. Lowe’s Company dropped 4.8%, following dismal FY13 EPS guidance. The S&P 500 Index declined 1.8% to settle at 1,487.85, while the DJIA Index lost 1.5% to close at 13,784.17. The NASDAQ Composite Index retreated 1.4% to finish at 3,116.25.
Asian markets are trading mostly in negative territory this morning, amid uncertainty over the outcome of the Italian election. In Japan, Japan Tobacco lost 0.8%, on reports that the Japanese government would sell a stake in the cigarette maker. In Hong Kong, metal companies, Jiangxi Copper and Angang Steel dropped 1.3% and 0.2%, respectively, while the Europe-exposed apparel firm, Esprit Holdings slid 1.2%. In Seoul, Hanwha Life Insurance plunged 9.4%, after Hanwha Chemical Corporation sold the insurer’s shares at a discount. The Nikkei 225 Index is trading 1.4% lower at 11,502.30, while the Kospi Index is trading 0.5% lower at 1,998.90. The Hang Seng Index has fell 0.6% to trade at 22,692.78.
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