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International News & Trends



8252 replies to this topic

#1
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    HONG KONG - Most Asian markets advanced on Friday, as blue chip property stocks lifted Hong Kong shares to a record for the third consecutive session. Australian shares also hit an all-time high, while Chinese stocks rose to their highest in five years.

    Japanese financial markets were closed Friday for Culture Day, a national holiday.

    Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 34.91 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,749.69. Analysts said the blue chip index is likely to breach 19,000 points next week, but won’t rose much higher.

    “The narrow trading range shows that investors are not willing to leave (the market) yet, but they are cautious as there’s obviously not much upside after the psychological 19,000 level,” said Castor Pang, a strategist at Sun Hung Kai Research.

    Property stocks outperformed other blue chips. Developer Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. rose 1.3 percent to HK$87.55, and Hang Lung Properties Ltd. climbed 2.6 percent to HK$17.32.

    Traders said property stocks, which had lagged behind in the market’s recent strength, are playing catch up and are also helped by recent positive news on new apartment sales.

    Chinese electronics retailer Gome Appliances fell 6.4 percent to HK$6.10, on continuing worries about reports the chairman was under investigation.

    Elsewhere:

    KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s key stock index edged up as investors snapped up a wide range of stocks ahead corporate earnings figures expected soon. The Composite Index of 100 blue chips climbed 0.3 percent to 998.02 points _ its highest level since February 2000.

    MANILA: Philippine shares rallied for the 11th consecutive session after Moody’s decision to change the country’s ratings outlook to stable from negative and the Central Bank’s move to ease monetary policy. The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 45.08 points, or 1.7 percent, to 2,766.86, its best finish since July 1, 1997.

    SEOUL: South Korean shares eked out a gain, the fourth straight increase, as construction companies gained. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 0.15 point, marginal in percentage terms, to 1,383.88.

    SHANGHAI: Chinese stocks rose to a five-year high, as a rise in shares in the country’s biggest bank, ICBC, boosted buying of other banking heavyweights. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8 percent to 1,866.36, its highest close since Sept. 5, 2001.

    SINGAPORE: Singapore’s shares ended lower on worries about the US economy and on SembCorp Marine’s lower-than-expected earnings. The Straits Times Index fell 8.67 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,722.31.

    SYDNEY: Australian stocks reached record highs driven by the country’s largest bank and the financial sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 22.6 points or 0.4 percent, higher at 5,432, eclipsing the previous closing high of 5416.4 set on Wednesday.

    TAIPEI: Taiwanese shares rose slightly as investors switched into high-profile, non-technology issues. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange gained 83.51 points, or 1.1 percent, to 7,161.61.

    WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s stocks coasted to a strong finish as investors warmed to Telecom Corp.’s first-quarter earnings result and placed bets that a higher bid for discount retailer The Warehouse Group would emerge. The benchmark NZX-50 index was up 20.4 points, or 0.5 percent, at 3,778.41.

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    #2
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    AMMAN - Arab stocks plummeted this week due to panic selling, led by Saudi shares, but analysts said on Friday regional bourses could witness short-lived rebounds in the coming couple of weeks with stock prices providing a buy opportunity.

    Analysts attributed the decline mainly to disappointing third quarter results of listed firms, retreating oil prices and concerns arising from the Iranian nuclear standoff and other regional conflicts.

    “I believe stock prices have gone down to very low levels where they provided a buy opportunity that gives rise to short-lived rebounds,” an Amman-based portfolio manager said.

    “However, we think investors will remain cautious and assume selectivity in their demand, focusing on high return firms,” he added.

    The biggest casualty occurred at the Saudi stock exchange, where the Tadawul All Shares Index (TASI) dived 11.5 per cent from last week, closing at 9,328.47 points, the lowest since March 2005.

    TASI is currently 44.2 per cent lower than the year’s start, according to the weekly report of the Riyadh-based Bakheet Financial Advisors (BFA).

    “This sharp retreat coincides with the announcement of most third quarter results. The blue chip companies show decelerating profit growth for the first nine months, while some of them showed a decrease in Q3 profits relative to the Q2 earnings,” the BFA said.

    “Following the large falls in the prices of most blue chips, we expect investors to select undervalued stocks with fair profit growth (bottom fishing),” it added.

    The big losses incurred by traders prompted some of them to call on the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) to halt trading for sometime to avert further losses, according to the London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

    The collapse at the Saudi exchange appeared to have had a direct impact on other bourses in the region.

    The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange shed 3.69 per cent this week, closing on Thursday at 5,973 points, according to the ASE weekly report.

    Analysts attributed the decline mainly to lack of liquidity and the scrabble by small investors to sell their holdings to avert further losses.

    In Kuwait, the KSE all-share price index fell 2.6 per cent, closing week at 10,763 points, after a rebound which lasted for three weeks.

    The weekly report of the Kuwait-based Global Finance House considered the retreat “unjustified” given the fundamentals of the national economy and third quarter results of listed firms.

    The all-share price index of the United Arab Emirates stock exchange of Dubai also shed 6 per cent, to close at 402.99 points.

    “We believe the sharp decline has nothing to do with internal factors, given the good third quarter results of firms,” said CEO of Orayon Holding Co. Walid Jamaluddin.

    “The drastic decline in the Saudi market has obviously affected the UAE stocks,” he added.

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    #3
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    A very good topic started by STock Guru.
    Regards

    #4
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    Grains mixed; gold at 8-week highs
    (Reuters)

    4 November 2006


    NEW YORK - Corn prices ended mixed on Friday as players took profits a day after the market surged to 10-year highs. Wheat and soybeans rallied further.

    Orange juice also backed off from 16-year highs, with traders doubting the January contract could pass the critical $2 a pound mark soon.

    Among other key commodities, gold prices breached $630 an ounce the first time in 8 weeks; copper rebounded from four-week lows; crude oil rose above $59 a barrel on a U.S, warning about impending militant attacks against Nigeria’s oil industry.

    “Investors are building up positions in gold and other commodities. Some of them are technically driven and some are economically driven,” said Jeffrey Christian, managing director at research and advisory firm CPM Group.

    “I think these things are headed higher over the next few weeks, few months,” he added.

    Corn for December delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade closed 2-1/2 cents down at $3.42-1/4 per bushel.

    The market had surged to 10-year highs Thursday after investment funds pulled money from underperforming markets such as oil and put them into corn. Wheat and soybeans had also rallied, riding the coattails of corn.

    Traders had anticipated selling by farmers and hedging pressure to result in a correction in corn prices Friday.

    But they were surprised that farmers were not selling as aggressively as expected.

    Cash dealers in corn said farmers appeared confident prices would rally further.

    Wheat prices jumped toward the close as bear-spreading lifted contracts for deferred delivery. CBOT spot December wheat settled at $4.92-1/2 per bushel, up 1 cent. Deferred months through 2008 were up 3 to 8-1/2 cents, with December 2007 up 8-1/2 cents at $4.78-1/2.

    Soybean futures closed firm as the soy/corn spread adjusted. November soy ended 3/4 cent higher at $6.49 per bushel. January closed 1-1/2 cent up at $6.62-3/4. The back months through November 2007 closed 1-1/2 to 5 cents up.

    Frozen concentrated orange juice for January closed down 1.70 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $1.9780 per lb, after trading between $1.9770 and $1.9950.

    On Thursday, it struck $1.9990, the highest for a benchmark juice contract since the 1990s, bolstering speculation that it was days away from the breaching $2.08 for 30-year highs.

    December gold at the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled $1.40 firmer at $629.20 an ounce. It recovered almost $12 from a morning low at $619.50 to $631.30, the highest price since Sept. 7.

    Copper extended a bounce from Wednesday’s four-week low and benefiting from a firmer energy complex. Investors also turned a blind eye to strength in the dollar, which often drags down commodity prices.

    COMEX copper for December delivery ended New York trade up 3.10 cents at $3.3225 a lb., after dealing between $3.2780 and $3.3375.

    US crude oil settled $1.26 higher at $59.14 a barrel. London Brent crude gained $1.28 to $59.15.

    The US consulate in Lagos, Nigeria, said a militant Niger Delta group may have finalized plans for a concerted attack against oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.

    Militant attacks have cut output by about 500,000 barrels per day since February from Nigeria, the world’s eight largest oil exporter.

    Adding to concerns, BP said it received a bomb threat at its refinery in Whiting, Indiana, the fifth-largest refinery in the United states.

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    DFM Index plunges to 2-year low
    BY ISAAC JOHN (Chief Business Reporter)

    6 November 2006


    DUBAI — Dubai Financial Market (DFM) yesterday announced the launch of a new index — the DFM General Index (DFMGI) — as the benchmark DFM Index plunged to its lowest in two years.

    Triggered by a sharp drop of three per cent by Emaar, the DMF Index dropped for the fifth consecutive trading session, slipping 3.6 per cent to 388.31 — the lowest since December 2004.

    The gauge has declined 62 per cent this year, making it the worst performer out of 80 global measures tracked by Bloomberg News.

    While Emaar stocks fell 3 per cent to Dh12.7, Commercial Bank of Dubai dropped 1.7 per cent to Dh6.9. The Abu Dhabi Securities Market Index also slipped 1.7 per cent to 3233.49 — its lowest since January 2005.

    The index has dropped 38 per cent this year, for the third-worst performance among global indexes this year. Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All Share Index is the second worst. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the Gulf emirate's largest lender, declined 3.6 per cent to Dh7.2. Etisalat, the second-largest publicly-listed Arab telephone company, dropped 2.5 per cent to Dh18.2.

    Analysts attributed yesterday's sharp decline to the upcoming DFM IPO valued at Dh1.6 billion, besides profit-taking, regional tensions and a decline in the Saudi stock market.

    Mohammed Khalaf Al Habtoor, Chief Executive of Al Habtoor Group, said the fall was caused by small-time investors who look for quick profits. "Most of them have short-term goals and behave in an immature manner. They don't wait for the announcement of dividends like seasoned investors."

    Al Habtoor said unlike major investors, there was a rush by small timers to encash their shares in preparation for the DFM IPO. The Saudi market plunge also had its impact on the UAE bourses, he said.

    According to Essa Kazim, Director-General of DFM, the new index will replace the existing DFM Index in due course. DFMGI will comprise stocks that are primary listings on DFM and will exclude bonds & Sukuks and mutual funds. The index will have a base of 1000 points. Beta testing of the new index is already on, he said.

    The new DFMGI will have two critical parameters when compared to the old index. First, the last traded price of a stock will be considered as the closing price. In the old index the average trading price of a stock on that particular day was considered as the closing price. The new DFMGI will therefore have an international method of calculating market capitalisation for any stock.

    Second, in the new DFMGI, the free float of a stock will be considered for calculating market capitalisation of that company, whereas in the earlier index, the entire capital of the company was considered for calculating its market capitalisation.

    DFM also announced its intentions to launch DFM 15, which will include the 15 most active listed companies. In addition, DFM is also considering launching new sectoral indices, based on a thorough review to restructure sectors. As well, DFM also plans to constitute an "Index Committee" that will review all indices twice a year.

    "DFM is growing by leaps and bounds. As the market grows, we fell that there is a need to review the Index and provide more indices as options for local and international investors and analysts to refer to. Hence we have adopted internationally acclaimed methodologies for formulating these indices. The base as 1000 is in sync with GCC and other international stock markets."
    "The methodology that we have adopted is identical to the one adopted by large number of international institutions that calculate indices for most international exchanges. And international institutions prefer 'free float methodology' and also the last traded price of a stock for calculating market capitalisation. The new DFMGI reflects price movements in a better way and is not biased to certain companies. We have put maximum limit to market value of each stock at 25pc of the total market value of the index," he added.

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    Platinum hits record high as funds buy, gold choppy
    (Reuters)


    SINGAPORE - Platinum jumped more than 10 percent and hit a record high of $1,382 an ounce on Tuesday as funds poured money into the precious metal, driven by talk about the launch of an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

    Purchases by jewellers ahead of Christmas also helped, but dealers said low liquidity exaggerated price movements. Gold tracked platinum but a firmer dollar would cap gains, they said.

    The price compared with $1,251/1,256 late in New York on Monday.

    “The big guys came, in a relatively small margin, and just squeezed the whole market up. It’s illiquid,” said Peter Tse, a dealer at Scotia Mocatta in Hong Kong, referring to the small amount of platinum changing hands.

    Platinum, which is mainly used in jewellery and to clean car exhaust emissions, beat the previous record high of $1,336 hit in May. It has risen more than 40 percent since the start of this year.

    ETFs, often backed by a physical commodity, enable investors to trade securities on an exchange and give investors a return based on commodities prices, without the need to trade futures or take physical delivery.

    “We are seeing the sharp moves because the market is relatively small. A reasonable amount of purchases by funds could boost prices this way,” said Hisaaki Tasaka, a market analyst at Ace Koeki Co. Ltd.

    “There is no fundamental reason to buy platinum heavily after last week’s Johnson Matthey report. The move is very speculative,” he added.

    The world’s top platinum distributor said in the report that supply and demand for the metal were likely to reach record levels in both 2006 and 2007, leaving the global market close to balance.

    The most active platinum contract on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, currently October 2007, hit a high of 4,547 yen per gram — the highest for a benchmark contract since Sept. 11.

    Rumours of the launch of a platinum ETF surfaced earlier in November but nothing has happened and some dealers question the likelihood.

    Yukuji Sonoda, a precious metals analyst at Daiichi Commodities in Tokyo, warned against putting too much hope on a platinum ETF as it would attract only limited interest from investors.

    “The actual demand for platinum is only a maximum of one tonne, mainly in Japan. The actual investment demand for platinum only comes from Japan,” he said.

    Year-end demand from jewellers and the prospect of supply restrictions in top producer South Africa following a move to introduce a new royalty tax would be the main supporting factors for the metal, said Sonoda.

    Dealers said the platinum market was much smaller than gold and silver, which have deep liquidity and massive above-ground stocks that could be used to fill a supply gap. Investors in general also have limited exposure on platinum, they said.

    Investors have so far bought 17 million ounces of gold through ETFs, which at today’s price equates to $10 billion, dealers said.

    In other precious metals, spot gold hit a high of $624.10 an ounce before slipping to $622.60/623.60 an ounce, hardly changed from $622.20/623.20 late in New York.

    “The market seems to be holding above $620 but my customers just stay away. Perhaps they are waiting for more clues from platinum but I think buying may resurface below $620,” said a physical dealer in Singapore.

    “The dollar doesn’t move much, either,” he said.

    The dollar was little changed at 118.05 yen. The euro was a tad higher at $1.2825.

    Premiums for gold bars eased to 40 U.S. cents an ounce to the spot London price in Singapore from as high as 50 cents last week, reflecting declines in demand.

    Silver edged up to $12.77/12.84 an ounce from $12.74/12.81 late in New York.

    Palladium rose to $322/327 from $319/323.

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