Market Review

South African Markets

South African markets ended in the red yesterday, after the South African Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, forecast a wider budget deficit than previously estimated and lowered the outlook for the nation’s economic growth. ArcelorMittal South Africa tumbled 6.1%, amid concerns about earnings prospect after the government indicated that it would tax carbon emissions from 2015. Pan African Resources slumped 5.1%, after the company announced that its CEO, Jan Nelson, has resigned from his position. Imperial Holdings shed 2.0%, despite reporting higher 1H13 earnings. Dismal FY12 earnings led Santam to fall 1.2%. On the contrary, Better-than-expected FY12 earnings led Grindrod to climb 2.2%. The JSE All Share Index fell 0.7% to close at 39,275.37.

UK Markets

UK markets closed in positive territory yesterday, as upbeat economic data from the US and eurozone increased risk appetite among investors. Weir Group surged 7.3%, after it posted upbeat FY12 pre-tax profit and projected revenue growth and stable margins for FY13. Miners, Fresnillo, Polymetal International and Antofagasta climbed 2.3%, 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively. Vodafone gained 2.0%, following news that the company has suspended its plans to takeover Kabel Deutschland. Energy sector stocks, BG Group, Royal Dutch Shell and BP advanced 1.4%, 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively. Bucking the trend, Petrofac declined 6.3%, despite posting a substantial rise in its FY12 revenue and profit. The FTSE 100 Index gained 0.9% to close at 6,325.88.

US Markets

US markets ended firmer yesterday, after data indicated that pending home sales in the US rose more-than-forecast in January. Guidewire Software soared 16.6%, on the back of a sharp increase in its 2Q13 earnings. Dollar Tree, AES Corporation and Joy Global jumped 10.5%, 6.3% and 5.8%, respectively, following better-than-expected quarterly results. Coach rose 2.8%, amid speculation that the company is exploring a sale. TJX Companies gained 2.5%, following upbeat 4Q12 results and a hike in its dividend payout. However, dismal 1Q13 guidance led First Solar to plummet 13.8%. The S&P 500 Index advanced 1.3% to settle at 1,515.99, while the DJIA Index gained 1.3% to close at 14,075.37. The NASDAQ Composite Index climbed 1.0% to finish at 3,162.26.

Asian Markets

Asian markets traded sharply higher this morning, after US Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke’s second day of testimony further reassured markets that the central bank would continue with its monetary stimulus programme. In Japan, Komatsu added 4.0%, on speculation that it might post upbeat operating profit. In Hong Kong, New World Development added 3.5%, after it reported a substantial rise in its underlying profit for six months ended 31 December 2012. In Seoul, Hanwha Corporation gained 0.9%, after it reported a sharp rise in its FY12 net profit. The Nikkei 225 Index is trading 1.9% higher at 11,469.27, while the Kospi Index is trading 1.0% higher at 2024.10. The Hang Seng Index has gained 1.2% to trade at 22,845.71.

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