20 February 2013: Mergers keep US-stocks high

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Both Dow Industrial and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained during yesterday’s session, and closed near all-time highs. Dow tipped over the 14 000 mark and ended at 14 035. The technology index, Nasdaq, was up 0,68%. A surge in mergers have stimulated market activity. There have lately been several acquisitions in a capital strong market. Fourth quarter earnings for S&P rose 5,6%. Tuesday it was rumored that the second biggest office retailer, Office Depot, was in merger talks with a smaller rival. 

Asian stocks rose to its highest level since August 2011 on improved global economic outlook and increased risk appetite. The South East Asian MSCI-index added 0,7% and rose for a third day in row spurred by a strong technology sector. Corporate earnings have been generally positive. A shift from defensive to cyclical stocks have also helped stock markets. Australian stocks continue to rise on better commodity perspectives.

The Japanese yen regained some ground, but remained jittery. USD/JPY was swinging in a narrow range between 93,50 and 94 on concerns whether Japan may be able to pursue its strong advocated reflationary policies. The one week delay in the appointment of a new Governor for Bank of Japan, has also raised concerns. The Euro has gained ground both against yen and USD. Euro/USD trades again above 1.34.

British Sterling (GBP) is under continuous pressure. GBP lunged to a  seven-month low at 1.5414 yesterday. USD/GBP trades at 1.5444. The records from the last meeting in Bank of England (BOE) are expected to be released later in the week. It is said that the records contain willingness to higher inflation and monetary easing. This comes among speculation that United Kingdom soon could lose its triple A-rating.

The trend in the commodity markets is positive. Copper is up. US crude steadied at USD 96,70 a barrel. Brent eased 0,2% to 117,34. Precious metals are under  strong downward pressure after one of the leading market makers, George Soros, last week sold substantial quantities of gold.

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