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International markets roundup

NEW YORK - US stocks notched solid gains recouping some of the market's losses from a day earlier.

Technology and health care companies drove much of the rebound on Wednesday, outweighing losses in safe-play stocks like utilities and real estate investment trusts. Small-company stocks fared better than the rest of the market.

Macy's led a rally among retailers after reporting surprisingly strong results, adding to the strong wave of corporate earnings in recent weeks.

The S&P 500 index rose 11.01 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,722.46. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 62.52 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 24,768.93. The increase nudged the 30-company average to a small gain for the year.

The Nasdaq composite added 46.67 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7,398.30.

The stock indexes wavered little from their upward trajectory on Wednesday as investors appeared to shake off concerns about the prior day's spike in bond yields.

The market also failed to react much to a Commerce Department report early on Wednesday that showed US residential construction fell 3.7 per cent in April following a steep drop in apartment construction.

Investors continued to sift through the latest batch of corporate report cards from big-name retailers, many of which are issuing quarterly results this week.

Macy's latest results far exceeded analysts' expectations. The department store operator noted that its Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury divisions as well as its flagship store brand all did well. The company's shares led all stocks in the S&P 500, vaulting 10.8 per cent to $33.17.

Investors will get to pore over more results from retailers on Thursday, including Walmart, J.C. Penney and Nordstrom.

LONDON - Strong results from leading software company Micro Focus and a rally among mining stocks drove Britain's FTSE 100 higher, while Crest Nicholson and mid-cap pub companies suffered sharp losses.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.2 per cent at at 7,734.20 points by the close on Wednesday, flirting with the record high reached in mid-January.

Micro Focus was top of the heap, jumping 6.2 per cent to a two-month high after the software company won a new $40 million licensing deal earlier than expected, saying it would bolster first-half revenue.

The share price reached levels last seen in mid-March when a profit warning dented the stock.

Several mid-cap stocks registered sharp falls after results.

Home builder Crest Nicholson sank 12.8 per cent to the bottom of the FTSE 250 after saying rising construction costs were hurting the pricing of its homes, forcing it to cut its full-year operating margin forecast.

HONG KONG - Hong Kong stocks barely changed as renewed worries over North Korea and surging US bond yields dampened sentiment in Asian markets.

Pyongyang abruptly called off talks with Seoul, throwing a US-North Korean summit into doubt. The cancellation could see tension on the Korean peninsula flare again even as investors worry about China-US trade tensions and the sustainability of global economic growth.

The Hang Seng index ended 0.1 per cent down at 31,110.20, while the China Enterprises Index was unchanged at 12,440.12 points.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 1.8 per cent or 153.27 points lower at 8,555.51, in its biggest one-day drop since February.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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