Market Review

South African Markets

South African markets ended higher yesterday, after China vowed to maintain its 2013 growth target at 7.5%. Data showed that South Africa’s Producer Price Index (PPI) rose more-than-expected in January. FirstRand jumped 4.4%, after it reported robust 1H13 results. Upbeat FY12 earnings outlook led Capitec Bank Holdings to rally 4.1%. Steinhoff International Holdings gained 1.9%, after it reported a rise in its 1H13 revenue and earnings. Brimstone Investment Corporation advanced 1.5%, following strong FY12 results. On the contrary, Lonmin lost 1.6%, amid news that around 6,000 workers had gone on an illegal strike at its Marikana mine. Dismal FY12 earnings led Royal Bafokeng Platinum to fall 1.1%. The JSE All Share Index climbed 1.8% to close at 40,546.24.

UK Markets

UK markets closed in the green yesterday, following encouraging corporate earnings and positive UK service sector data. Serco Group soared 9.0%, after posting a strong rise in its FY12 profits and increasing its dividend payout. John Wood Group jumped 7.9%, after it announced that it would boost annual dividends by 26.0%. Glencore International rallied 5.7%, after it reported a significant increase in its FY12 revenue. Standard Chartered gained 3.2%, after it posted its tenth consecutive year of record profit for FY12. Peers, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and HSBC Holdings climbed 2.4%, 1.9% and 0.6%, respectively. Meggitt rose 2.4%, following upbeat FY12 pre-tax profits. The FTSE 100 Index gained 1.4%  to close at 6,431.95.

US Markets

US markets ended higher on Tuesday, after upbeat US ISM non-manufacturing data and China’s pledge to maintain its 2013 growth target boosted investor sentiment. American Apparel surged 18.6%, after it forecast better-than-expected 2013 sales. A hike in its quarterly dividend payout and plans to buyback shares worth $5.00bn led Qualcomm 2.0% higher. However, J. C. Penney plummeted 10.6%, after a filing indicated that Vornado Realty Trust sold 10.00mn shares in the company at $16.00/share. The S&P 500 Index gained 1.0% to settle at 1,539.79, while the DJIA Index edged 0.9% higher to close at 14,253.77. The NASDAQ Composite Index climbed 1.3% to finish at 3,224.13.

Asian Markets

Asian markets are trading higher this morning, taking cues from overnight gains on Wall Street. In Japan, Sharp Corporation rallied 13.7%, following news that Samsung Electronics would invest about JPY10.00bn in the struggling Japanese electronics firm. In Hong Kong, Bank of China gained 1.7%, after the Chairman, Xiao Gang, stated that the bank would extend more loans to small-and medium-sized enterprises. In Seoul, shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering climbed 4.3% and 3.3%, respectively, on improved outlooks for new ship orders. The Nikkei 225 Index is trading 1.3% higher at 11,837.87, while the Kospi Index is trading 0.4% higher at 2,025.40. The Hang Seng Index has advanced 0.9% to trade at 22,753.14.

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