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US markets rise on Apple, other technology stocks

Apple and other technology stocks led a rally on Wall Street on Friday after weaker-than-expected US wage growth data eased concerns about faster interest-rate hikes.

Shares of Apple Inc jumped to a record high of $184.00 during the session after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc disclosed that it had raised its stake in the iPhone maker. Apple shares were last up 3.9 percent. The company’s stock is on track for its greatest weekly percentage gain since October 2011.

The S&P 500 technology sector was up 1.9 percent, the biggest gainer on the index.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 355.42 points, or 1.49 percent, to 24,285.57, the S&P 500 gained 36.16 points, or 1.38 percent, to 2,665.89 and the Nasdaq Composite added 125.21 points, or 1.77 percent, to 7,213.36. At the market open, US stocks had moved lower upon the release of employment data. The S&P 500 bounced off its 200-day moving average, a technical level that indicates the long-term trend.

The Labor Department reported the US unemployment rate dropped to near a 17-1/2-year low of 3.9 percent. But US stocks climbed as the session progressed. Investors said that the low unemployment figure, which on its own might point to inflationary pressure on wages, offset the mere 0.1-percent rise in wages for April, below expectations.

All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, and 29 of the 30 Dow members were in the black. Pandora Media Inc shares jumped 22.4 percent after the music-streaming service provider reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Shares of CBS Corp rose 7.6 percent after the media company topped revenue and profit estimates for the first quarter. Fluor Corp shares sank 22.4 percent, the most on the S&P, after the engineering and construction company posted a surprise quarterly loss due to issues with a gas-fired power project.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.22-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.10-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 43 new lows.

Pakistan stocks down for fourth successive session

The KSE-100 decreased another 210 points to end negative for the fourth successive session as political uncertainty over the upcoming general elections kept investors at bay on the last day of the week as well.

The index opened sideways and soon landed in the red where it stayed throughout the session. A brief buying spell did not last long, eventually taking the KSE-100 closer to the 44,500-mark. At close, the benchmark KSE-100 Index finished with a decrease of 209.73 points or 0.47 percent to settle at 44,536.91.

The index witnessed a bear market on Friday, falling as much as 279 points in intra-day trading before recovering some ground. Traded volumes plunged by 3 percent day-on-day, while value traded dropped to $44 million. Top volume stocks were Bank of Punjab (+2.34%), Unity Foods (-3.85%) and Shabbir Tiles and Ceramics Limited (+2.43%). K-Electric (+1.52%) from the power sector closed positive on back of the news that the prime minister backed sale of K-Electric’s majority stake to a Chinese firm, where the deal would get through in near future. Moving forward, it was expected that the market to exhibit volatility in the coming sessions due to overall political ambiguities in the market. Shares of 365 companies were traded on Friday. At the end of the day, 172 stocks closed higher, 171 declined while 22 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.06 billion. Bank of Punjab was the volume leader with 21.1 million shares, gaining Rs0.28 to close at Rs12.25. It was followed by Unity Foods with 13.2 million shares, losing Rs1.22 to close at Rs30.44 and Shabbir Tiles with 10.3 million shares, gaining Rs0.52 to close at Rs21.88. Overall, trading volumes decreased to 139 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 144 million.


China shares end lower

China stocks ended lower on Friday, capping a listless week, as investors anxiously await the outcome of the Sino-US trade talks being held in Beijing.

The blue-chip CSI300 index ended down 0.5 percent at 3,774.60, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.3 percent lower at 3,091.03 points.

For the week, the CSI300 index ended 0.5 percent higher, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.3 percent. The blue-chip CSI300 index was down, with its financial sector sub-index closed 0.81 percent lower, the consumer staples sector ended down 0.73 percent, the real estate index ended down 0.25 percent and healthcare sub-index closed 1.09 percent higher.

Dhaka stock wins regulatory nod for stake sale to Chinese group

The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) has received approval from Bangladesh’s market regulator to sell a 25 percent stake to a Chinese consortium that includes the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges, the DSE’s top executive said on Friday. The DSE submitted its revised proposal to the BSEC on Monday as per the instructions of the regulator, with the unanimous consent of its shareholders.

Hong Kong shares decline

Hong Kong shares fell on Friday as investors weighed the outcome of the Sino-US trade talks, released during the final minutes of trading.

The Hang Seng index fell 1.3 percent, to 29,926.50, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.1 percent, to 11,890.62 points. China and the United States have reached a consensus on some areas of their trade dispute but still have relatively big disagreements on others, China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Friday. The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 0.7 percent while the IT sector dipped 0.65 percent, the financial sector was 1.8 percent lower and property sector dipped 0.7 percent. China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.32 percent at 3,091.03 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended down 0.49 percent.

Romanian shares, leu outperform on rate hike expectation

Romanian shares and the leu outperformed Central European peers on Friday due to a good earnings report from BRD bank and expectations for a central bank interest rate hike on Monday.

The leu traded at 4.659 against the euro at 0816 GMT, firming 0.2 percent. Other Central European currencies firmed less, while the most liquid units, the zloty and the forint eased slightly. After a slump in regional currencies and stock prices earlier this week due to a rally of the dollar, local factors came into the focus as investors await US payroll figures due at 1230 GMT. Prague’s main index fell 1.2 percent, knocked down by an almost 5 percent plunge in Erste bank. Austrian-based Erste Group reported an annual surge in first-quarter net profit, but an increase in its costs overshadowed that result.

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