us stocks mixed

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    RWE News
    9:02:020 28/01/2005
    Sydney - Friday - January 28: (RWE Australian Business News) -
    US equity markets have finished mixed after failing to hold onto the
    two-day rising trend.
    Investors took little notice of some better data including
    durable goods orders and lower jobless insurance benefits claims.
    Wall Street's Dow slide slowed towards the close.
    The key barometer settled 31 points lower, the S&P 500 index
    edged up less than half a point while the Nasdaq composite ended 1 in
    front and the 100 index fell a point.
    The oil price produced little joy as the March contract added 6c
    to $48.84 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
    This was despite a comment by Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali
    al-Naimi that OPEC does not need to cut production when it meets on
    The oil cartel members are observers at the World Economic Forum
    in Davos.
    Meanwhile, investors are hoping that corporates can match last
    year's earnings growth, which averaged 19.5 per cent.
    However, the general consensus is that earnings will grow around
    10 per cent after taking in significantly higher energy costs.
    On the economic front American durable goods orders rose 0.6 per
    cent in December to $200.3 billion, winding up the best year in a decade
    for manufacturers of products lasting three years or more.
    The Commerce Department data after stripping out transportation
    saw orders rise 2.1 per cent - the first gain since September and better
    than forecast.
    For the year, orders surged 10.9 per cent.
    In other data initial state weekly jobless insurance benefits
    claims rose a modest 7000 to 325,000 - less than predicted, according to
    the Labor Department.
    Analysts had suggested claims would rise to 332,000.
    Financial markets believe the Fed Fund interest rate will rise
    only 25 basis points to 2.5 per cent.
    The better economic news pushed Treasuries lower, reflected by
    the 10-year cash paper yield rising 1 point to 4.21 per cent.
    In other data the number of help-wanted ads rose in December.
    The Conference Board disclosed the help-wanted ad volume in the
    US was 38, up 2 points from November, and the same as December 2003.
    And the Bank of Canada says it will need to lift interest rates
    but the higher Canadian dollar has slowed down the pace on that planned.
    The central bank suggested the pause in its tightening cycle was
    in part due to the management of core inflation expected to be around 2
    per cent for all of 2005.
    The firmer US dollar kept gold on the back foot, with the spot
    price slipping 60c to $426.30 oz.
    The Aussie dollar barely moved and is currently US77.62c -
    almost steady on last night's local close.

    WALL STREET ... settled 31.11 points lower at 10,467.25 on the
    Dow Jones Industrial Average. The broadly-based S&P 500 rose 0.48 to
    1174.55. The Nasdaq composite edged up 1.06 to 2047.15 but the 100 index
    slipped 1.22 to 1507.57 on the close. Treasuries traded erratically,
    finally losing ground, but ending in the upper end of the market, as
    dealers saw the data as bad news. The 10-year cash paper fell 2/32 ticks
    to 100 10/32, lifting the yield 1 point to 4.21 per cent.

    US DOLLAR ... edged higher against key currencies in New York
    other than the euro. It is selling at 103.11 yen, up from 103.04 yen
    yesterday. The euro is at 1.3032 (prev 1.3071) and sterling is at 1.8875
    (prev 1.8825). The greenback is at 1.1852 Swiss francs (prev 1.1840).

    AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR ... is more stable against the US dollar. The
    Aussie is changing hands at US77.62c down 1 point on last night's local
    close. High for the session was US77.79c and low was US77.28c. Crosses
    were uneven. The yen is at 80.01 (prev 79.80), 0.5955 euros (prev
    0.5925) and 41.12 pence on sterling (prev 41.15).

    AUSTRALIAN SHAREMARKET ... may well see some profit-taking today
    after yesterday's buying spree, which saw the All Ordinaries surge 44.8
    to a record close of 4101.2 after touching an all-time high of 4106. The
    ASX 200 ended 49.8 in front at 4105.7 and hit a record 4110.4. The
    market was helped along by strong buying in the banking sector, prompted
    by positive broker comment. Futures gave no clues about today's
    direction with the March SPI 200 unchanged at 4112 and June up 1 to 4127
    overnight. Brokers say investors remain confused about where the
    market's going and will be looking for another strong reporting season
    in coming weeks to provide further buying impetus. There was plenty of
    bullish news yesterday including a full-year profit upgrade by Rinker
    Group, which now expects 35pc growth in trading EBIT for Rinker
    Materials in $US and 20pc growth for Readymix in $A. Rinker shares rose
    28c to $11.03 yesterday. On the new listings front, gold and base metals
    explorer Scimitar Resources will see its 20c shares open at 1pm.

    EUROPEAN SHAREMARKETS ... closed modestly higher, for the most
    In London, the FTSE 100 blue-chip index managed to close ahead
    for the fifth consecutive session. Standout gainer was pharmaceutical
    major Astrazeneca, whose shares jumped 4.1 per cent to close at 19.80
    pounds. The company posted a 19 per cent rise in 2004 earnings, saying
    that strong demand for established brand name medicines and careful cost
    control would fuel growth this year. The mining sector was underpinned
    by BHP Billiton, which reported heavier production for a range of
    minerals over the quarter. BHP shares firmed 0.31 per cent to 655.0p,
    while Xstrata rose 0.82 per cent to 923.5p, Antofagasta 0.59 per cent to
    11.94 pounds and Anglo American 0.32pc to 12.42 pounds. In a further
    chapter of the London Stock Exchange takeover saga, Deutsche Boerse's
    offer was spurned as being too low, although the way is now open for
    competitor Euronext to make a higher bid. LSE shares rose 0.8pc to 579p.
    Finally, mobile-phone operator mmO2 managed to rise 0.6pc to 125.75p
    despite announcing that a proportion of its customers gained in the
    latest quarter represented just the re-activation of existing customers.
    On the Continent, shares in Philips jumped 4.45pc to 19.5 euros
    on a traded volume of 28 million shares after the Dutch electronics
    group unveiled a 750 million euro share buyback program. The company
    also reported a smaller-than-expected dip in fourth-quarter earnings.
    French insurer Scor led gainers in Paris, climbing 5.37pc to 1.57 euros,
    while German electronics and engineering firm Siemens closed 2.91pc
    higher at 63.60 euros on a traded volume of 13 million shares in
    Frankfurt. Seimens reported quarterly net income had jumped 38pc despite
    a slight dip in revenue. Dutch chip equipment maker ASML Holdings jumped
    5.63pc to 12.20 euros on a traded volume of 13 million shares despite
    Franco-Italian semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics saying that
    it anticipates first-quarter revenue to fall between 4pc and 12pc from
    the fourth quarter. STM shares were unchanged at 12.67 euros.
    At the finish, London's FTSE 100 index firmed 6.30 to 4853.40,
    Paris's CAC 40 rose 11.58 to 3891.40 and Frankfurt's DAX edged up 2.29
    to 4216.41. Amsterdam rose 2, Milan fell 71 and Zurich gained 5.

    METALS ... have been uneven. Spot gold based on the February
    month eased 60c to $426.30 while the April contract lost 70c to $428.40
    oz on COMEX. March silver grabbed 1.5c to $6.82 oz and the active April
    platinum contract improved $2.50 to $871.30 oz on NYMEX. New York Narch
    copper dipped 85 points to 142.70c lb. Closing three-months LMEs were
    copper $3063 tonne, tin $7950, lead $923, zinc $1277, aluminium $1827
    and nickel $14,325.
    Three-month London Metals Exchange official bid prices were
    mixed. Copper fell $7 to $3057 tonne, lead added $92 to $921 and zinc
    crept up $4 to $1279. Tin was unchanged at $7945. Nickel dipped $10 to
    $14,385 and aluminium ended $11 lower at $1817 tonne.

    OIL ... settled 6c higher at $48.84 barrel for March light crude
    on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Session high has been $49.65 and
    low $48.60 barrel. Traders appeared to ignore OPEC's claim that it does
    not need to cut production at the cartel's Sunday meeting and can wait
    until March before reducing supply. March Brent crude oil futures
    contract slipped 7c to $46.50 on the International Petroleum Exchange.

    The CRB index fell 2.27 to 285.50.
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