Broadgate: Market News 17/2
17 February 2012
U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index near the highest level in about three years, amid better-than-estimated economic reports and optimism that Greece will receive a second bailout. Stocks rose as Americans filed the fewest claims for jobless benefits since 2008 and builders broke ground on more homes than forecast. Manufacturing (OUTFGAF) in the Philadelphia region expanded in February at the fastest pace in four months as orders and sales picked up.
Tokyo enjoyed little support from the relatively weaker yen, thanks to the Bank of Japan’s announcement this week that it would further loosen monetary policy as it tries to battle stubborn deflation. The dollar traded at 78.41 yen in Tokyo, compared with 78.43 in New York.
“There is not a great deal of fear of much more yen strengthening. Rather, signs of yen weakening, especially versus the dollar, remain an important potential catalyst for bulls,” Masatoshi Sato, senior strategist at Mizuho Investors Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Oil increased to a six-week high based on the optimism that Greece will get a second bailout and as U.S. jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since 2008. Oil for March delivery gained 51 cents to $102.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Jan. 4. Prices have gained 3.5 percent this year.
The prospect of further rate cuts in Australia has receded after a surprise surge in new jobs lowered the unemployment rate to 5.1 per cent. The workforce swelled by more than 46,000 to 11.4 million last month, the best increase in employment since late 2010. There was virtually no jobs growth last year, and a sharp fall in employment in December had led to predictions of further rate cuts in the early months of this year. “This is likely to wipe out any remaining expectations of an RBA rate cut next month,” said Annette Beacher, an economist at TD Securities.
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