LO Lorillard Inc 85.27 +6.49 +8.24%
CNP Centerpoint Energy... 16.45 +1.25 +8.22%
MMI Motorola Mobility ... 26.25 +1.23 +4.92%
STI Suntrust Banks Inc... 29.55 +1.30 +4.60%
MWV Meadwestvaco Corp 28.75 +0.92 +3.29%
NKE Nike Inc 77.21 -8.20 -9.60%
JDS UJds Uniphase Corp 19.17 -0.99 -4.91%
FFIV F5 Networks Inc 99.00 -4.36 -4.22%
RL Polo Ralph Lauren ... 117.40 -4.29 -3.53%
AES AES Corp 12.34 -0.41 -3.22%
Europe's major equity averages are now closed for the week. Most settled off of session highs, but still successfully extended their prior session advance, which came only after many of them fell in six straight sessions. Among Europe's top performing bourses and indices for Friday, Portugal's PSI spiked 1.3%, France's CAC climbed 0.6%, and Britain's FTSE advanced 0.4%. Germany's DAX advanced only 0.1%.
As for action in Asia, Japan's Nikkei bounded to a 2.7% gain after it had rallied more than 5% in the prior session. Hong Kong's Hang Seng mustered a mere 0.1% gain. China's Shanghai Composite wasn't much better; it gained just 0.3% in its final session of the week.
The yen declined the most in more than two years against the dollar as the Group of Seven nations jointly intervened in foreign-exchange markets for the first time in more than a decade.
Japan’s currency slumped against all its major counterparts as the Federal Reserve and Bank of Canada joined the Bank of Japan and European central banks in an effort to sell the yen. G-7 finance ministers and central bank chiefs said after a conference call yesterday to discuss the impact of the March 11 earthquake that they will “provide any needed cooperation.”
“The G-7 has given its full support to help stabilize the market and to help prevent the yen from strengthening further,” Aroop Chatterjee, a currency strategist at Barclays Plc in New York. “With policy makers stating that further monetary policy easing is forthcoming, we expect the yen to continue weakening following the intervention.”
The Japanese currency weakened as the Fed and BOC’s actions followed those of the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Bank of France, Germany’s Bundesbank and the Italian central bank. Japan’s authorities probably sold less than 2 trillion yen ($25 billion) in today’s foreign- exchange market intervention, a Japanese government official told reporters in Tokyo.
“Coordination is happening because of sympathy for Japan, given the tragic disaster that has occurred. It is designed to support Japan and to stabilize Japan,” said Jens Nordvig, a managing director of currency research in New York at Nomura Holdings Inc., during a call with clients and reporters today. “It’s highly likely that BOJ is going to be there for much longer and that the 80 level is going to be defended much more forcefully and much more persistently.”
The yen’s decline against the dollar will be temporary unless it’s supported by higher U.S. interest rates, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The move shouldn’t be a “trend- changer,” said John Normand, the London-based head of currency strategy at JPMorgan.
“The more relevant question is whether such a policy would support the dollar-yen and the euro-yen for long,” wrote Normand in an e-mailed note. “History isn’t on the G-7’s side. The major concentrated interventions -- Louvre in 1987, euro in 2000 --only turned trends when reinforced by central bank tightening, so Fed policy will negate whatever the G-7 do.”
The U.S. central bank has kept its benchmark lending rate at zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008. The Fed will boost the rate by 25 basis points in the last three months of the year, according to the median forecasts.
The yen’s weakness may be short-lived as Japan would need as much as $500 billion to intervene in markets just to match its previous efforts to curb the currency’s strength, according to Deutsche Bank AG.
An intervention of that magnitude will add about 10 percent of gross domestic product to Japan’s record debt level
Stocks have surrendered some of their gains in recent trade. That has left the major equity averages to trade at their lowest levels since this morning.
Of the headline indices, the Nasdaq Composite has made the deepest downturn. Although it is still up with a healthy gain, it has handed back about half of what it had achieved. Apple (AAPL 331.54, -3.10) has been a particularly heavy drag on the tech-rich Nasdaq. The stock's downturn today hasn't been deep enough to take shares back to the one-month low that was set on Wednesday, but it has nearly offset the gain that it was recorded on Thursday.
Market players talk that the BOJ has asked major Japanese exporters to trade directly with them to assist the BOJ in absorbing other downward market flow in crosses and the dollar. USD/JPY trades Y81.13/15 after dipping to session lows around Y80.80.
Current price: Y81.10
Comments: Rate retreats. Support comes at Y79.80 (Mar 17 high). Below losses may widen to Y78.20. Break under opens the way to Y76.60 (record lows). The resistance is around overnight highs on Y82.00. Break above will target Y82.50 and Y83.30 (Mar 11 high).
Current price: $1.6160
EUR/USD $1.4000, $1.3950, $1.3800
USD/JPY Y82.50, Y81.00, Y80.75, Y80.50
GBP/USD $1.6100, $1.6200
The U.S. stock futures solidly higher ahead of Friday's opening bell.
U.S. stocks closed broadly higher Thursday, rebounding after two days of sharp declines as investors reacted to heightened worries about a nuclear crisis in Japan.
The Japanese yen had been driven sharply higher in recent days due to global uncertainty and the prospect of more cash flowing into Japan.
But the yen eased after finance ministers from the Group of 7 major economic powers announced a coordinated intervention to prevent the Japanese currency from rising further. The announcement pushed the Nikkei up 2.7%.
With no U.S. economic data or corporate results on the agenda Friday, investors will likely remain focused on the ongoing disaster in Japan.
After a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the northern part of Japan last Friday, workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been struggling to cool damaged reactors.
World markets: European stocks rose in afternoon trading. Britain's FT-100 added 0.5%, the DAX in Germany notched up 0.3% and France's CAC-40 gained 0.7%.
Asian markets ended the session higher. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.3%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added less than 0.1%.
Companies: Shares of General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) were up 1.2% in premarket trading after CEO John Dineen told reporters Thursday that the company expects its health care business revenue in India to grow 25% in 2011.
Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold (FCX, Fortune 500) gained 1.9% in premarket trade. Shares have risen 8.8% over the past five days as commodity prices soar.
Nike (NKE, Fortune 500) shares fell 7.7% in premarket trading after the company reported disappointing earnings late Thursday. Nike said higher commodity prices hurt profit margins and the company will raise prices on many of its products as a result.
00:01 UK Nationwide consumer confidence (February) 38 48 47
05:00 Japan Leading indicators composite index (January) final 101.5 101.9 101.9
05:00 Japan Coincident indicators composite index (January) final 105.9 106.2 106.2
07:00 Germany PPI (February) 0.7% 0.6% 1.2%
07:00 Germany PPI (February) Y/Y 6.4% 6.3% 5.7%
09:00 EU(17) Current account (January) unadjusted, bln - -0.1
09:00 EU(17) Current account (January) adjusted, bln -0.7 -10.4 -12.5 (-13.3)
10:00 EU(17) Trade balance (January) unadjusted, bln -14.8 - -0.5
10:00 EU(17) Trade balance (January) adjusted, bln -3.3 -1.1 -1.1 (-2.3)
11:00 Canada CPI (February) 0.3% 0.4% 0.3%
11:00 Canada CPI (February) Y/Y 2.2% 2.4% 2.3%
11:00 Canada CPI core (February) 0.2% 0.4% 0.0%
11:00 Canada CPI core (February) Y/Y 0.9% 1.1% 1.4%
The yen weakened by the most since 2008 versus the dollar, and U.S. index futures rose after central banks intervened to weaken Japan’s currency.
Group of Seven nations started joint intervention for the first time since 2000.
Power may be restored to one of the crippled reactors at Japan’s earthquake-damaged nuclear plant today.
Japanese soldiers and firefighters from Tokyo, using dozens of fire engines, doused sea water on reactor No. 3, site of an explosion earlier this week. Tepco said it will finish reconnecting a power line to the cooling system of the No. 2 reactor today, where white smoke or steam was observed. The power link would be used to restart pumps needed to pour cooling water on overheating fuel rods.
While the yen intervention “may seem to be a one-day operation, the statement also suggests their readiness to act further if need be,” Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank AG, wrote in a note. “In the absence of any deteriorating nuclear news flows out of Japan the swings in oil prices will probably have a stronger influence over markets from now on.”
Oil climbed after the United Nations approved military action to ground Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s air force. Qaddafi’s troops outside the rebel base of Benghazi may face air strikes after the UN Security Council authorized the use of force to protect civilians.
Crude for April delivery gained $1.36, or 1.3 percent, to $102.78 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The UN decision to prevent the Libyan air force from bombing rebel cities renewed concern that political unrest in the region may spread and disrupt oil supplies.
EUR/USD held within the $1.4040/80 range before resuming further rise up to $1.4135.
GBP/USD was close to $1.6200 but failed to break above and retreated to $1.6060. Later rate managed to recover to current $1.6150.
USD/JPY rocketed from lows around Y79.10 to Y81.95. Later rate retreated a bit to Y81.43.
There is no economic reports for today.
April WTI crude has fallen back this morning from Asian highs of $103.62 to a low in Europe of $101.59, on dollar strength following intervention in the dollar-yen and crosses. But fears remain over Libya and Bahrain as the UN contemplates strikes on Libya. Crude has since picked up to $102.10 per barrel.
GBP/USD rises amid euro-dollar's stronger rally. Currently rate challenges resistance at $1.6140 ($1.6143 61.8% $1.6194/1.6060). Above $1.6143 to open a move toward $1.6162 (76.4%).
EUR/USD rises above $1.4100, up to session highs on $1.4115 and continues to go higher after triggering stops $1.4105/10. A break here to open a move toward $1.4150.
EUR/JPY recovers again on further cross buying from an EU sovereign and another UK clearer, supported by a buy euro-dollar trade recommendation from Goldman Sachs. Cross curently trades around Y114.78.
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