Daily Financial Markets Report: Monday, 17 February 2014

sacciDaily Financial Markets Report sources information from Business Day, Reuters, JSE Ltd and others.

Highlights

 U.S. stocks ended the week with the best gains this year, sending the Nasdaq Composite to the highest level since July 2000. European stock markets moved higher on Friday after economic-growth data for the euro zone confirmed the region is gradually recovering, with almost all member states now out of recession. Asian markets rose on Monday, with Hong Kong leading the region higher, while Japanese stocks were weighed by the release of disappointing growth numbers.

 Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1 326.70/oz. and platinum at US$ 1 428.50/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 108.73 per barrel.

 The US dollar is currently trading at 1.37 to the euro, 1.67 to the pound and will buy 101.60 Japanese Yen or 10.81 South African Rand.

International markets

U.S. stocks ended the week with the best gains this year, sending the Nasdaq Composite to the highest level since July 2000. Investors shrugged off a surprise drop in industrial production data and focused on a mildly better-than-expected consumer sentiment gauge and earnings reports. European stock markets moved higher on Friday after economic-growth data for the euro zone confirmed the region is gradually recovering, with almost all member states now out of recession. Asian markets rose on Monday, with Hong Kong leading the region higher, while Japanese stocks were weighed by the release of disappointing growth numbers.

The S&P 500 index closed 8.80 points, or 0.5%, higher at 1 838.63 and gained 2.3% over the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 126.80 points, or 0.8%, higher at 16 154.39 and recorded a 2.3% weekly gain. All but three Dow members gained on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite rose for the seventh consecutive session after a volatile start, adding 3.35 points, or 0.1%, to 4 244.03. The tech-heavy index gained 2.9% over the week

The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.6% to close at 333.32, extending its weekly advance to 2.5%. Germany’s DAX 30 index rose 0.7% to 9 662.40, closing out the week 3.9% higher. France’s CAC 40 index added 0.6% to 4 340.14 and gained 2.7% for the week. U.K.’s FTSE 100 index inched 0.1% higher to 6 663.62. For the week, the London benchmark put on 1.4%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 1.2% and the Shanghai Composite rose by 0.3%, after Chinese bank loans jumped more than expected in January, with financial institutions issuing 1.32 trillion yuan ($217.6 billion) worth of new loans last month. Although Chinese banks typically make more loans at the beginning of the year, it was interpreted by the market that demand in the economy is strong. The Nikkei was up 0.2%, in a volatile session that saw the market flip-flop between positive and negative territory, after data released early in the session showed that Japan’s economy grew less than expected in the final three months of 2013. Gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of 1% in the final quarter of last year, lower than the 2.8% increase expected by economists.

The US dollar is currently trading at 1.37 to the euro, 1.67 to the pound and will buy 101.60 Japanese Yen or 10.81 South African Rand.

Domestic markets

The JSE All share index closed slightly lower on Thursday when markets worldwide took a breather after strong gains earlier in the week, but by midday the index was again 0.74% higher at 46 595 points. The top 40-index traded 0.84% stronger as 42 080 points

Commodities

Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1 326.70/oz. and platinum at US$ 1 428.50/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 108.73 per barrel.

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