Market Review

South African Market

South African markets ended in the green on Friday, after data indicated that the South African Kagiso Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) improved in February. Sibanye Gold surged 6.2%, following robust FY12 earnings. Interwaste Holdings jumped 4.7%, after it agreed to acquire Enviro-Waste customer base and related assets for a total consideration of R14.00mn. Better-than-expected FY12 earnings led Old Mutual to climb 3.8%. FirstRand, Standard Bank Group and Nedbank Group advanced 1.8%, 1.4% and 1.0%, respectively, as risk appetite improved amongst investors. On the other hand, miners, Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti and DRDGold retreated 2.5%, 1.2% and 0.6%, respectively, tracking lower gold prices. The JSE All Share Index climbed 1.1% to close at 40,134.97.

UK Markets

UK markets finished higher on Friday, as investors cheered strong US consumer confidence and ISM manufacturing data. Capita rallied 4.3%, following news that the company has acquired debt recovery specialist, Qor Holdings UK, for GBP42.00mn. Hammerson jumped 2.5%, after stating that it would hike its FY12 dividend. British Sky Broadcasting Group gained 1.1%, after the company announced that it has agreed to acquire Telefonica’s broadband and fixed-line phone division in the UK for GBP180.00mn. Bucking the trend, Kazakhmys shed 4.7%, following weak Chinese manufacturing PMI data. Lloyds Banking Group slipped 2.2%, after the lender posted a FY12 loss. The FTSE 100 Index advanced 0.3% to close at 6,378.60.

US Markets

US markets ended firmer on Friday, as better-than-expected consumer confidence and manufacturing data shrugged off concerns over across-the-board automatic spending cuts. Upbeat 4Q12 results led to surge 7.6%. Best Buy climbed 4.6%, after its 4Q12 loss narrowed sharply. Moreover, the company announced that it has discontinued talks with founder, Richard Schulze, who had been working to secure funds to acquire the company. Gap rose 2.9%, after it reported upbeat 4Q12 results and offered robust FY13 outlook. The S&P 500 Index rose 0.2% to settle at 1,518.20, while the DJIA Index advanced 0.3% to close at 14,089.66. The NASDAQ Composite Index climbed 0.3% to finish at 3,169.74.

Asian Markets

Asian markets are trading mostly lower this morning, after China introduced fresh measures to cool the property market. However, Japanese stocks rose, as investors bet on deflation-fighting plans. In Japan, Hitachi Zosen surged 13.4%, on news that it would sell its reactor vessels in the US. In Hong Kong, United Company Rusal slid 3.7%, on reports that the metal-firm would cut its aluminium output by the end of 2013. In Seoul, Hyosung tumbled 5.8%, following news that the Chairman’s son, Cho Hyun-moon, is planning to sell a 6.8% stake in the company. The Nikkei 225 Index is trading 0.6% higher at 11,674.90, while the Kospi Index is trading 0.2% lower at 2,021.10. The Hang Seng Index has slipped 1.0% to trade at 22,662.10.

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