Global stocks advance on stimulus optimism
Global stocks climbed to a 4 1/2- year high amid speculation that central banks around the world will continue with measures to support economic recovery. U.S. index futures were little changed, while Asian shares rose.
OC Oerlikon Corp. rallied to a four-year high after the world's largest maker of textile machinery posted 2012 earnings that beat analysts' estimates. Deutsche Post AG increased the most in seven months after reporting fourthquarter results.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) advanced 1.2 percent to 292.25 at 8:39 a.m. in London, the highest level since Aug. 12, 2008. The benchmark gauge completed its ninth month of gains in February as the European Central Bank pledged to preserve the euro and U.S. lawmakers reached a budget compromise. Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.2 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.6 percent today.
"We suggested yesterday that the Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen could hit the market with further dovish rhetoric, and she didn't disappoint," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne, wrote in an e-mail. "In the last few days, some of the key members of the Fed have pushed back and directed markets that they aren't going anywhere anytime soon and the core of the Fed still feels the benefits of asset purchases outweigh the costs."
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said yesterday the U.S. central bank should press on with $85 billion in monthly bond buying. Yellen, the central bank's No. 2 official, echoed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's comment last week that the benefits of the Fed's historically low interest rates and near- record $3.09 trillion balance sheet outweigh any risk of financial instability.
Separately, Kikuo Iwata, a nominee for Bank of Japan deputy governor, said the central bank should buy longerterm bonds to help it achieve a 2 percent inflation target.
China plans to raise its budget deficit by 50 percent this year as the government cuts taxes and boosts measures to support consumer demand in the world's second-biggest economy. In the euro area, officials indicated that budget policies may be eased after a backlash against austerity plans. Economic strains may "justify in a certain number of cases reviewing deadlines for the correction of excessive deficits," European Union Economic and Monetary Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters late yesterday.
Meanwhile, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said deeper budget cuts in his country are out of the question. OC Oerlikon rose 3.3 percent to 12.50 Swiss francs after reporting 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 547 million francs ($581 million), beating the average analyst estimate that called for 524 million francs. The company also proposed a dividend of 0.25 francs a share, compared with the 0.23 francs analyst had projected.
Deutsche Post increased 3.7 percent to 17.64 euros. Europe's biggest postal service said fourth-quarter net income amounted to 542 million euros, topping the average 482 million- euro analyst forecast. The company said it expects 2013 earnings before interest and taxes in the range of 2.70 bil- lion euros to 2.95 billion euros. That compared with the average analyst estimate calling for 2.87 billion euros.
Glencore International Plc (GLEN) added 2.3 percent to 378.45 pence after the largest publicly traded commodities supplier posted full-year adjusted net income of $3.06 billion. Xstrata Plc, which Glencore is seeking to buy in a $33 billion all-share bid, advanced 2.9 percent to 1,131 pence. Elekta AB slid 4.6 percent to 91.25 kronor after adjusting its full-year forecast. The company said it expects sales to increase about 15 percent in local currencies, compared with a previous projection for a growth of more than 15 percent.