Market Review

South African Markets

South African markets ended in positive territory on Thursday. Meanwhile, data indicated that South Africa posted a record trade deficit for January. Murray & Roberts Holdings climbed 1.5%, after it swung to a profit in 1H13 compared to a loss posted in the corresponding period last year. Higher FY12 earnings led British American Tobacco to rise 1.4%. Liberty Holdings advanced 1.3%, after it reported strong FY12 results. On the other hand, Coal of Africa tumbled 7.9%, after it temporarily halted some of its production following a derailment of ten wagons on the Matola rail corridor. Retailers, Mr Price Group, Woolworths Holdings and Foschini Group declined 3.8%, 3.5% and 3.1%, respectively. The JSE All Share Index jumped 1.1% to close at 39,709.56.

UK Markets

UK markets closed higher yesterday, after the ECB President and the Fed Chairman pledged to continue with their monetary easing programmes. International Consolidated Airlines Group soared 7.9%, after it reported a smaller-than-expected annual loss for FY12. Reed Elsevier advanced 1.4%, after it registered a rise in its FY12 profit and indicated an upbeat outlook for FY13. Banking sector stocks, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC Holdings jumped 1.7%, 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively, amid increased risk appetite among investors. On the flipside, dismal FY12 results led Kazakhmys to slump 8.6%. Royal Bank of Scotland Group retreated 6.6%, after its FY12 loss widened more than expected. The FTSE 100 Index gained 0.6% to close at 6,360.81.

US Markets

US markets finished lower on Thursday, after the US Senate rejected plans to replace $85.00bn in automatic spending cuts. J.C. Penney and Sears Holdings tumbled 17.0% and 5.2%, respectively, after they reported a wider-than-forecast 4Q12 loss. NII Holdings plunged 11.4%, after it swung to a 4Q12 loss. Intuitive Surgical plummeted 11.1%, amid reports that the company is being probed by US regulators over the safety of its products. Cablevision Systems declined 9.6%, following dismal 4Q12 results. Kohl’s Corporation retreated 1.1%, after it provided downbeat FY13 earnings outlook. The S&P 500 Index eased 0.1% to settle at 1,514.68, while the DJIA Index slipped 0.2% to close at 14,054.49. The NASDAQ Composite Index dropped 0.1% to finish at 3,160.19.

Asian Markets

Asian markets are trading mixed this morning, following lacklustre Chinese manufacturing data. In Japan, Tokyo Electric Power advanced, following news that it was ordering more than JPY10.00bn worth of supplies and equipment for its Fukishima plant. Nomura gained 0.9%, on reports that the company would revamp its Middle East operations. In Hong Kong, Sun Hung Kai Properties dropped 1.8%, after the company cut its home sales target for the current financial year. South Korean markets are closed today for a public holiday. The Nikkei 225 Index is trading 0.1% higher at 11,565.72, while the Hang Seng Index has fell 0.3% to trade at 22,961.80. Yesterday, the Kospi Index advanced 1.1% to close at 2,026.49.

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