Daily Global Market Report and Corporate News… by Qatar Gulf News

MARKET COMMENTARY


U.S.
Markets  

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record, as biotechnology and energy companies rallied and data on construction spending boosted confidence in the economy. Biogen Idec Inc. led gains in health-care shares after its Alzheimer’s drug showed promising early results. Energy shares rallied 1.3% for the largest gains. The group has surged 2.1% in the past two days after closing at a 15-month low last week. Marathon Petroleum Corp. surged 3.7% and Valero Energy Corp. climbed 4.1%. On the other hand, Apple slid 0.4% after losing 3.3% yesterday. Genworth Financial Inc. slid 5.9% as JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut its price target on the shares. The S&P’s 500 Index rose 0.6% for the largest gain since Oct. 31. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6%, to an all-time high.


Asian
Markets

Asian stocks fluctuated today with U.S. and European equity-index futures, Australia’s dollar slid to a four-year low after economic growth un-expectedly slowed and crude oil advanced. China’s Shanghai Composite Index closed at a three-year high as the value of trading surged to a record. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong dropped 0.7% after rising as much as 1.1%. Japan’s Topix index added 0.1% after it earlier climbed as much as 0.9% as brokers and automakers advanced. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest car manufacturer by market value, climbed 0.9% as it contributed the most to the Topix’s advance. Nomura Holdings Inc., the nation’s largest brokerage, closed at a five-month high. Otsuka Holdings Co. sank 5% after the drugmaker agreed to buy California-based Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc.


European
Markets

European stocks rose, as oil shares rebounded from a six-day loss and optimism grew over stimulus prospects before this week’s European Cen-tral Bank meeting. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed as much as 1%. The gauge has rallied 12% from an October low as President Mario Draghi said the ECB may broaden its asset-buying program to include government bonds, while central banks in Japan and China boosted stim-ulus measures. The ECB’s next policy meeting is on Dec. 4. More than half the economists in a Bloomberg survey expect the central bank to buy government bonds if it expands its stimulus program. A gauge of oil and gas shares rose 3.2% for the biggest gain among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.BP Plc jumped 4.7% and Royal Dutch Shell Plc climbed 4.1%. Mining shares also gained. BHP Billiton Ltd., which gets more than half its revenue from iron ore and petroleum, climbed 2.2%. ArcelorMittal rose 1.5%. Among companies moving on corporate news, Friends Life Group Ltd. rose 2.4% after Aviva Plc agreed to buy it for about $8.8bn in stock.

CORPORATE NEWS

 U.S. Markets

 Amazon.com Inc.
Amazon.com Inc. sold its biggest bond offering as the online retailer pours money into drones, television programming and smartphones. The maker of the Kindle e-book reader issued $6bn of notes in five parts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The sale was its first since it offered $3bn of bonds in November 2012, the data show. Jeff Bezos, the company’s CEO, has emphasized spending big and counting on sales growth over earning a profit, with Amazon reporting its biggest quarterly net loss in October since at least 2003.
 Biogen Idec Inc.
Biogen Idec Inc. shares rose after the company said its Alzheimer’s drug showed promising early results and will be quickly moved into a final-stage trial. In a small, early stage trial, Biogen’s drug BIIB037 reduced beta amyloid in the brain, said Doug Williams, Executive Vice President of research and development, at a Deutsche Bank conference in Boston. Beta amyloid, a protein fragment that creates plaque tangles in the brain, is thought to be a key component in Alzheimer’s disease.
 MasterCard Inc.
MasterCard Inc., the second-largest U.S. payments network, raised its quarterly divided 45% to $0.16 a share and announced a new stock repurchase program. The company may buy back as much as $3.75bn of its stock after completing a current $3.5bn repurchase program, the firm said in a statement.

European Markets

 Aviva Plc
Aviva Plc, Britain’s second-largest insurer by market value, agreed to buy Friends Life Group Ltd. for about GBP 5.6bn in stock in the U.K. industry’s biggest takeover in 15 years. Friends Life shares surged to the highest since 2009. Aviva is offering GBP 3.94 in stock for each Friends Life share, according to a statement. That’s 15% more than Friends Life’s closing price on Nov. 20, the day before the companies disclosed that they were in talks.
 Deutsche Lufthansa
Lufthansa pilots set strike for Dec. 4 from 3am to 11:59pm CET, union says in e-mail. Strike to affect cargo, long-haul passengers, won’t affect Lufthansa short, medium flights or German Wings. Pilots say considerable differences remain with management.
 Tesco Plc
Tesco Plc CEO Dave Lewis is to assume direct responsibility for the grocer’s main U.K. business as he seeks to revive domestic sales amid the fallout of overstated earnings estimates. Lewis will take the position on an interim basis, the retailer said on its website. He takes over from Robin Terrell, who has headed the unit since Tesco divulged the accounting irregularities in September and suspended eight senior managers, including U.K. chief Chris Bush. The change takes effect next month.
 ThyssenKrupp AG
S&P expects ThyssenKrupp’s leverage will further decrease in 2015, with an FFO-to-debt ratio comfortably between 12% and 17%; S&P also anticipates that the company will report positive to neutral free operating cash flow going forward.
 Unilever PLC
Unilever, the world’s biggest maker of ice cream, acquired Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto to expand its frozen offerings and counter sluggish growth among its mainstream food brands. Talenti, founded in 2003 and based in Minneapolis, will generate more than $120m in sales this year from flavors like Blood Orange and Caramel Cookie Crunch, Unilever said in a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.