US SHARES RETREAT AS KRAFT HEINZ, UNILEVER SURGE
Wall Street stocks declined early Friday despite news of Kraft Heinz’s rejected takeover bid for Dutch-British giant Unilever that boosted shares of both firms.
The market’s downward move marked the second sluggish day after a five-day streak of records sparked by hopes for a major tax cut prompted by President Trump’s comments last week.
Nearly 90 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,558.75, down 0.3 percent. The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent at 2,342.45, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was down less than 0.1 percent 5,814.47.
EUROPEAN STOCKS LITTLE CHANGED; ALLIANZ RALLIES
European shares were little changed in early deals on Friday, but were on track to end higher for the second week in a row, assisted by a string of solid earnings updates.
Allianz increased 3.3 percent after Europe’s largest insurer proposed spending 3 billion euros on buying back its own shares after posting a higher than expected profit growth.
The STOXX 600 was flat, while UK’s FTSE fell 0.1 percent and Germany’s DAX was flat.
The pan-European index is up 0.8 percent so far this week and remains near its highest level in 13 months. Top loser on the STOXX was Vopak, down 8.4 percent, after the Dutch oil and chemical storage company said it does not expect core profit to grow this year.
PSX DECLINES AS SECURITY WORRIES HIT BLUE-CHIP STOCKS
Pakistan stocks market slid on Friday as investors shunned risk after deadly terror attack in Sindh that sparked fresh security worries in Pakistan.
The benchmark KSE-100 shares Index shed 0.43 percent or 212.59 points to end at 49,375.71 points, while KSE-30 shares index lost 0.6 percent or 161.82 points to end at 26,695.57 points. Out of as many as 416 active scrips, 225 advanced, 178 went down, and 13 remained equal.
The ready market volumes reached at 373.303 million as compared to 263.26 million shares a day earlier. Highest volumes were witnessed in K-Electric Limited with a turnover of 28.402 million shares. The scrip gained 9 paisas to close at Rs9.99/share.
INDIA’S SENSEX ENDS NEAR 5-MONTH HIGH
Market benchmark Sensex extended its rally for the second session on Friday, soaring 167 points to close near five-month highs on widespread buying in pharma and bank counters. Pharma stocks were galvanised by a slew of approvals granted by foreign regulators, while HDFC Bank zoomed to its 52-week high after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday allowed foreign investors to rise stake in the lender.
The 30-share BSE Sensex, which opened higher with a gap at 28,670.43, touched a high of 28,726.26 after participants widened their bets on foreign fund inflows amid persistent buying by domestic institutional investors. However, profit-booking dragged it to a low of 28,410.91, before the gauge finally settled 167.48 points, or 0.59 percent higher at 28,468.75.
The Sensex last closed at 28,668.22 on 23 September 2016. The index had gained 145.71 points in the previous session. The 50-share NSE Nifty, after moving between 8,896.45 and 8,804.25, finally settled 43.70 points, or 0.50 percent higher at 8,821.70. Both Sensex and Nifty recorded their fourth straight weekly gains by surging 134.50 points, or 0.47 percent, and 28.15 points, or 0.32 percent, respectively. HDFC Bank skyrocketed to Rs1,450, before succumbing to profit-booking and closing at Rs1,377.15, up 3.75 percent.
TOKYO SHARES DECLINE
Tokyo stocks declined Friday, led by main banks and automakers, while Toshiba posted its fourth day of losses as worries mount over its deteriorating finances.
Equities started in the red, taking a lead from Wall Street where two of the three main indexes closed lower after five-straight days of record closes.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.58 percent, or 112.91 points, to end the day at 19,234.62. It was down 0.74 percent over the week. The broader Topix index of all first-section issues slipped 0.42 percent, or 6.53 points, to 1,544.54, declining 0.13 percent this week.
SRI LANKAN STOCKS REMAIN LOWER
Sri Lankan shares fell in a shortened session on Friday, further moving away from a four-week closing high hit earlier in the week, as investors sold banking stocks amid concerns over rising market interest rates.
The Colombo stock index declined 0.22 percent to 6,159.87, its second straight session of falls, but posted a weekly gain of 1.1 percent after four straight weeks of declines.
Shares of Commercial Leasing and Finance Company Plc fell 9.4 percent, while Commercial bank of Ceylon Plc, the country’s biggest listed lender, declined 0.7 percent. Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc dropped 0.1 percent.
Turnover stood at 329.4 million rupees ($2.19 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of 622.4 million rupees.
Foreign investors offloaded a net 14.64 million rupees worth of equities, making them net sellers for the first time in 12 sessions, and extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 237.8 million rupees worth of shares.
The Sri Lankan cabinet approved a $1.5 billion sovereign bond issue to repay loans and manage interest payments. Yields on treasury bills rose 5-8 basis points at a weekly auction on Wednesday and are hovering at a more than four-year high. The stock market traded for half a day due to a special holiday in lieu of National Day which fell on February 4.