Market Review

South Africa Market

South African markets ended in negative territory yesterday, as an inconclusive Italian election result weighed on global market sentiment. Meanwhile, South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded at a faster pace in 4Q12. Country Bird Holdings retreated 3.9%, after posting dismal FY12 earnings. Miners, Royal Bafokeng Platinum and Anglo American dropped 2.7% and 1.7%, respectively. A decline in its 1H13 earnings led African Rainbow Minerals to fall 2.3%. On the other hand, AECI climbed 5.1%, despite reporting a fall in its FY12 earnings. Sibanye Gold advanced 1.2%, as it confirmed that partial production has resumed at its Beatrix 4 shaft. The JSE All Share Index fell 0.6% to close at 39,568.28.

UK Markets

UK markets closed lower yesterday, amid fears that political uncertainty in Italy might deepen the debt crisis in Europe. Banks, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds Banking Group retreated 4.7%, 4.3% and 3.3%, respectively. Whitbread declined 3.7%, after indicating that its like-for-like sales growth for 14 weeks ended 14 February 2013 was hampered due to bad weather in January. Mining sector stocks, Vedanta Resources, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto slipped 3.8%, 1.9% and 0.8%, respectively. BG Group and Royal Dutch Shell retreated 1.9% and 1.6%, respectively, tracking weak crude oil prices. On the flipside, GKN advanced 3.6%, after its FY12 earnings came ahead of market expectations. The FTSE 100 Index slipped 1.3% to close at 6,270.44.

US Markets

US markets finished firmer yesterday, after the US Fed Chairman defended the central bank’s monetary easing stance and amid encouraging US macro data. Assisted Living Concepts surged 22.8%, after it agreed to be acquired by TPG for about $277.00mn. Home Depot climbed 5.7%, following buoyant 4Q12 results. Moreover, the company’s Board authorised a share buyback program of around $17.00bn. Macy’s rose 2.8%, on the back of robust 4Q12 results. Apple gained 1.4%, amid speculation that the company might announce a stock split at its shareholders meeting later today. The S&P 500 Index rose 0.6% to settle at 1,496.94, while the DJIA Index gained 0.8% to close at 13,900.13. The NASDAQ Composite Index added 0.4% to finish at 3,129.65.

Asian Markets

Asian markets are trading mostly in the green this morning, as dovish comments by the US Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, regarding the central bank’s bond buying programme and a set of upbeat US economic data offset worries about the eurozone economy. In Japan, exporters, Panasonic and Nikon declined 1.6% and 0.7%, respectively, tracking a stronger Japanese yen. In Hong Kong, AIA Group advanced 3.5%, after the insurer posted solid FY12 results. In Seoul, Hyundai Motor advanced 1.2%, on reports that the carmaker would settle lawsuits from the US consumers for misleading fuel economy claims. The Nikkei 225 Index is trading 0.8% lower at 11,310.45, while the Kospi Index is trading 0.3% higher at 2,005.80. The Hang Seng Index has gained 0.5% to trade at 22,627.75.

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