US stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday. Dow Jones gained 0,64 percent and is again trading above 13 000. Nasdaq ended in red after the largest US company by market capitalization, Apple, swallowed its biggest fall In share prices in four years. Apple fell 6 percent and is down more than 20 percent from an all-time high reached in late September. Market participants cited a host of reasons for the drop; the company is losing share in the tablet market and NOKIA joining ranks with China’s biggest smart phone maker will give Apple a tough fight on the Chinese market.
Banking shares went higher led by Citigroup which jumped 6,3 % on a 10 000 employees or 4 % cut in its workforce. Cyclical shares closely tied to economic growth, also rallied on optimism on progress on a solution to avoid the fiscal cliff. Obama met with business chief executives in Washington and stressed readiness for a compromise if Republicans acknowledged the need to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. If the Republicans demonstrate such willingness, a budget deal can be reached within a week. The Republican is under strong pressure not at least from their own constituencies and; cracks in the ranks and possible “defectors” are likely to appear.
In England the Finance minister, George Osborne presented a new austerity budget to the House of Commons admitting that to have fallen short to obtain former set targets set. The budget proposal is most probably going to raise a new heated debate on whether austerity measures as practiced in England, Greece and other Western European countries are the right medicine to fight sovereign debt, trade and budget deficits. “Osborne has no more tricks to play”, commented one of the biggest British dailies.
Obama’s “fiscal cliff” comments created optimism in Asia where shares rose to a 16-month high. The Japanese Nikkei climbed 0,8 percent helped by a weaker yen. USD/JPY trades at 82,45. Euro/USD eased to 1.3054 after reaching a seven-week high of USD 1.3127 Wednesday. A disappointing Spanish bond auction reminded investors of the fragile fiscal health both of Spain and inside the euro zone and prompted a sell-off in the single currency. The markets are today waiting for the European Central Bank’s policy decision and US labor market report tomorrow.
Oil prices have fallen over the last 24 hours. Brent crude is one dollar down and trades below USD 109 a barrel. Gold is under downward pressure and tested the lows for the week at USD 1685 an ounce yesterday.
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