US indices are up slightly, with gains in the financial sector leading the way, after other markets closed with mixed results. Europe made gains through strong sessions in the energy and miner groups. The UK was relatively flat as the British government pushed forward the country’s exit from the EU. Trading in Asia was thin and major indices finished lower.
At the time of writing, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had both added +0.2%. Stocks remained mixed as the financial sector made a slight rebound in a response to a positive read on economic growth. Regional banks in particular enjoyed sharp moves higher, with the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (+2.6%), Zions Bancorp (+2.3%) and Regions Financial (+2.3%) all adding value. Lululemon Athletica shares plummeted -23.2% as several analysts cut price targets on the retailer, which forecast lower profit and sales in the first quarter after already missing fourth quarter earnings expectations. Cenovus Energy dropped -12.31% after Conco Phillips (+7.4%) said it would sell the majority of its Canadian oil-sands assets to the oil company. Apple retraced by a modest -0.2% after its key competitor, Samsung Electronics (+0.2%), yesterday launched its latest flagship smartphone.
The Stoxx Europe 600 rose by +0.5% as miners and energy producers climbed. Deutsche Boerse climbed another +1.8% after its planned merger with the London Stock Exchange was blocked by the EU’s antitrust watchdog yesterday. Gains for oil companies helped to lift European stock markets, with Tullow Oil (+7.7%), Statoil ASA (+2.3%) and Saipem (+1.4%) all increasing. H&M Hennes & Mauritz shares dropped -4.0% after it launched a new retail brand. The UK’s FTSE 100 retraced -0.1%, pressured by a rally for the pound as the British government cracked on with the process of leaving the EU. Ashtead Group added +2.4% after coverage of the company was started with a buy rating. The London Stock Exchange PLC advanced +0.9% as the exchange operator revealed plans to buy back shares worth a total of GBP200m.
Major Asian indices all declined in thin trading. The Shanghai Composite Index (-1.0%), Japan’s Topix (-0.9%), the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (-0.8%), Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (-0.4) and Korea’s Kospi (-0.1%) all lost value.
The ASX 200 rose +0.4% as investors continued to buy banking, resource and energy stocks. Bank of Queensland shares recovered lost ground and ended the day up +2.6% after the regional lender said its first-half cash profit fell by 2% to $175 million. Bellamy's slid -8.3% on news of delays in the registration of its infant formula for sale under new Chinese import regulations.
WTI crude climbed +1.6% to US$50.3, while gold fell -0.4% to US$1,228.40. Iron ore decreased -US$0.47 to US$81.8/MT.
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