|| BREAKING NEWS ALERT||NYTimes.com | Video|
SPECIAL REPORT Monday, February 18, 2013 10:02 PM EST
|| BREAKING NEWS ALERT||NYTimes.com | Video|
SPECIAL REPORT Monday, February 18, 2013 10:02 PM EST
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
President Hugo Chávez, whose 10-week absence since undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba plunged Venezuela into uncertainty, arrived in Caracas Monday, sparking celebrations among his supporters.
By NICK CUMMING-BRUCE
Carla del Ponte, a United Nations human rights investigator, said that those responsible for war crimes in Syria should be held to account at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER
Lawmakers in both parties view an assault weapons ban as politically toxic, but many seem more amenable to restricting the kinds of high-capacity magazines used in recent rampages.
By CHRISTOPHER S. CHIVVIS
The capital is calm, but the talk is of growing threats from radicals and militias across the land.
By LYDIA POLGREEN
Mamphela Ramphele, a respected veteran of the anti-apartheid movement, announced the formation of Agang, meaning "build," in a challenge to the governing African National Congress.
By ANDREW E. KRAMER
Infrasound waves, scientists say, would explain the apparent randomness of phenomena like cracked dishes and dead electronics behind unscathed windows.
By ANDREW E. KRAMER and ELLEN BARRY
Following reports that said no evidence of the meteor had been recovered in Lake Chebarkul, scientists said Monday that they had found "melted crust" in 53 small fragments.
|London Market Report|
|London close: Central banks and political risk in focus |
London equities finished slightly lower on Monday despite Wall Street having remained closed in observance of Presidents' Day, which usually leads to a positive bias in stocks.Chinese data weighs on miners
Weighing on equities however were weak retail sales data out of China, which in turn weighed on equities. As well, the pro bail-out candidate in Cyprus's Presidential elections, Anastiasiades, took only 45.5% of the vote, short of the 50% needed, so elections will now move into a second round, scheduled for February 24th.
Chinese consumers reigned in their spending over the Lunar New Year festivities by the most in four years, as authorities cracked down on extravagant spending by the public sector. That in turn seems to have been the main culprit behind the falls seen in the prices of most industrial metals today.
Nevertheless, in the background analysts and investors were busy analysing the possible outcome – and implications - of the upcoming elections in Italy, this coming weekend. Sentiment seemed somewhat divided with economists at Credit Agricole arguing that the political risk in Italy remains too elevated to stay long the country's bonds.
For his part, Nobel Economics prize winner Paul Krugman was cited over the weekend as saying that a 'Grexit' was still 'more likely than not.'
No less important will be the fresh indications regarding US monetary policy - from Wednesday onwards - and the latest readings on the Eurozone's manufacturing and service sectors, on Thursday.
Also acting as a backdrop was the latest data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which showed short speculative positions in Sterling outnumbering bullish ones for the first time in five months.
ITV's family net advertising revenues (NAR) could rise by between 8% and 14% in March according to industry forecasts, bank of America Merrill Lynch pointed out today, well ahead of the 6% gain seen in February. For that reason the broker has raised its price target on ITV to 125p from 117p before.
Miners were the worst performing group on the Footsie after news that Chinese retail sales at shops and restaurants increased by 14.7% in the February 9th to February 15th period versus a year ago. That was less than the 16.2% pace seen in 2012 and the slowest pace in four years.
Iberia, the Spanish subsidiary of London-listed IAG, announced 15 days of strike action.
The New York Times reported that Carnival will begin a detailed inspection of its Triumph ship, which was towed to shore last week following a small on-board fire.
Vodafone may approach Germany's largest cable provider Kabel Deutschland about a takeover bid as early as this week, according to several published reports.
Man Group rose today. Analysts at Merrill Lynch attributed the rise to speculation that the company's profits could be undergoing a 'normalisation.'
The Takeover Panel – the British watchdog - is being urged by investors to step in over the battle for control of troubled Indonesian coal miner Bumi plc. It comes as Bumi plc shareholders prepare to meet Thursday to vote on co-founder Nathaniel Rothschild's proposal to replace 12 of the 14 directors on the board.
Mark Coombs, the Chief Executive of Ashmore Group has been ordered to fly to the Philippines to answer questions over his firm's links to a businessman at the centre of a corruption scandal before an investigating committee of the Philippines senate.
Micro Focus confirmed on Monday that one of its subsidiaries has acquired Orbix, Orbacus and Artix software product lines from Progress Software Corporation, following a month delay, for $15m.
|FTSE 100 - Risers |
Hammerson (HMSO) 504.00p +3.45%
ITV (ITV) 120.30p +2.82%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,708.00p +1.67%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,356.00p +1.64%
National Grid (NG.) 692.50p +1.54%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,605.00p +1.33%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 263.90p +1.03%
Rexam (REX) 472.50p +0.77%
Prudential (PRU) 952.00p +0.74%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,729.50p +0.67%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 390.30p -3.08%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,983.00p -2.75%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 726.00p -2.75%
Evraz (EVR) 283.10p -2.21%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,098.00p -1.88%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 923.00p -1.81%
Carnival (CCL) 2,462.00p -1.72%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 224.20p -1.62%
Sage Group (SGE) 332.50p -1.60%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,618.00p -1.58%
FTSE 250 - Risers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 297.00p +8.95%
Rank Group (RNK) 167.40p +5.95%
Bumi (BUMI) 394.00p +4.43%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 129.00p +4.03%
Herald Inv Trust (HRI) 571.50p +3.16%
Betfair Group (BET) 705.00p +2.84%
LondonMetric Property (LMP) 116.80p +2.64%
Computacenter (CCC) 495.00p +2.48%
Man Group (EMG) 109.60p +1.86%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 427.70p +1.83%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 644.00p -4.66%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 283.00p -4.07%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 425.10p -3.69%
Homeserve (HSV) 232.60p -3.69%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 282.50p -3.68%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,400.00p -3.55%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 362.20p -3.46%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 395.90p -3.20%
RPS Group (RPS) 236.00p -2.88%
Devro (DVO) 370.20p -2.58%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 18.00p +6.67%
Torotrak (TRK) 25.12p +3.61%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 689.00p +1.70%
Ark Therapeutics Group (AKT) 0.97p +1.56%
Vislink (VLK) 32.50p +1.56%
RM (RM.) 72.00p +1.41%
Xaar (XAR) 295.00p +1.37%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,142.00p +1.24%
Puricore (PURI) 45.00p +1.12%
Parity Group (PTY) 24.38p +1.04%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Phytopharm (PYM) 1.90p -81.00%
Hiwave Technologies (HIW) 0.20p -71.43%
Optos (OPTS) 208.00p -1.89%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 116.00p -1.69%
NCC Group (NCC) 148.00p -1.66%
Ricardo (RCDO) 400.00p -1.23%
Filtronic (FTC) 64.00p -1.16%
Innovation Group (TIG) 24.75p -1.00%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 200.00p -0.99%
Electronic Data Processing (EDP) 55.00p -0.90%
|Europe Market Report|
|Europe midday: Equities recover slightly |
- Spanish bad bank loans dropped 100bp to 10.4 per cent in DecemberCarlsberg loses its fizz
- Spanish 10 year bond yields up by 5bp to 5.25 per cent
- Banks deposited 131.9bn euros overnight at the ECB
FTSE Mibtel 30: -0.54%
Ibex 35: -0.29%
Stoxx 600: -0.30%
European equities were slightly lower by midday. That came ahead of an auction of medium and long-term debt, by the Spanish Treasury, on Thursday, and Italian elections on the weekend.
As regards the latter, Credit Suisse indicated on Monday morning that "while all recent polls have continued to support a relatively reassuring central scenario for markets - a victory of the pro-European centre-left, probably able to form a government with the support of Mario Monti's centrists - there are several alternative and sub-scenarios that cannot be dismissed. These imply that the Italian elections remain a significant risk event."
Acting as a backdrop, and to be had in account, this past weekend's summit of G-20 finance ministers refrained from criticising the expansionary monetary policies undertaken recently by Japan.
Not to be lost sight of either, investors will be closely watching the flow of economic releases and policy speeches this week, Stateside, so as to better gauge where monetary policy in the world's largest economy is headed next.
Danish brewer Carlsberg has announced fourth quarter earnings of 2.15bn kroner (£249m) from 1.83bn kroner in the same period a year earlier. That was, nevertheless, quite a bit less than what analysts had been forecasting.
Shares of French investment bank Natixis are jumping by 19% after unveiling a 2bn pay-out.
UBS has cut Novozymes to sell from neutral.
From a sector stand-point the worst performers today are: Basic Resources (-1.15%), Technology (-0.73%) and Travel&Leisure (-0.72%).
Eurozone current account
The Eurozone's current account surplus for the month of December has come in at 27bn, versus 20.8bn a year ago.
Other asset classes mixed
The euro/dollar is now falling by 0.03% to the 1.3357 dollar mark.
Front month crude futures are now falling slightly, by 0.034 dollars to the 117.62 dollar per barrel mark on the ICE.
|US Market Report|
|Broker tips: Amec, RSA, Anglo American|
Canadian brokerage firm Canaccord Genuity is forecasting 'weak growth' for AMEC, the FTSE 100-listed engineering consultancy firm which published its full year results last Thursday.
For that reason it downgraded its profit forecasts for 2013 by 4% and by 2.5% for 2014 following the company's results and presentation.
James Evans, a broker at Canaccord Genuity, has also given AMEC shares a "hold" rating with a target of 1,215p.
Describing his view of AMEC's growth prospects for the year, he said: "AMEC's growth in 2013 is likely to be weak and we forecast just 3% [profit growth] on an underlying basis this year, with Mining and Oil sands material headwinds.
Despite all of the above he believes that last week's falls were overdone.
Analysts at Panmure Gordon have on Monday morning issued a research note telling clients to 'hold' on to shares of non-life insurer RSA. In their view the company's valuation is fully up to speed, given the improving but still challenging trading conditions.
In greater detail, they explain how the shares' upside is likely to be restricted by their current valuation metrics, which are now at a relatively high price/net tangible asset value ratio of 2.1 times and a price-to-earnings multiple of 10.8. The downside, on the other hand, ought to be limited given the firm's 7.1% dividend yield.
Nevertheless, they have raised their price target on the shares to 130p from 110p before.
Credit Suisse wrote today to clients telling them he expects Anglo American's net debt to climb, providing limited options for growth for incoming Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani.
The broker explained that the group's levels of capital expenditure (capex) are still increasing and are now greater following raised capex guidance from management, while free cash flow is negative despite operational improvement across the mining company and an improved earnings forecast for this year. Hence the increase in debt levels and the limited scope for new projects.
The company raised its guidance on capex for 2013/2014 to between $7.5-8bn and $6.5-7bn, whereas the broker had previously modelled $6bn and less than $5bn, respectively.
"Without a more fundamental shake up of the business shape (e.g. stake sales, mergers and acquisitions), in our view the value case for Anglo American remains elusive and long dated," Credit Suisse stated as it reiterated its 'neutral' rating and £21 target.