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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

World stocks up as Apple result lifts tech shares

  World stocks rose on Wednesday as investors stayed calm in the face of a possible debt default by Greece to search for good deals in technology shares boosted by stunning results from Apple.

Benchmark crude rose to nearly $99 per barrel while the dollar rose against the yen but fell against the euro.

European shares followed their Asian counterparts higher. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4 per cent to 5,774.31. Germany’s DAX climbed 0.5 per cent to 6,448.33 and France’s CAC-40 added 0.4 per cent at 3,334.50.

After a session of slight losses on Tuesday, Wall Street appeared headed for a higher opening. Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.1 per cent to 12,644 while S&P 500 futures added 0.2 per cent to 1,314.40.

Asian stocks posted solid gains. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo rose 1.1 per cent to close at 8,883.69. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.1 per cent to 1,952.23 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 1.1 per cent to 4,271.30. Markets in Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan remained closed for Chinese New Year.

Japan’s powerhouse export sector got a lift from a moderation in the yen’s strength even as the country reported its first annual trade deficit since 1980. A strong yen, which hit multiple historic highs last year against the dollar, shrinks the value of overseas earnings when repatriated and makes Japanese products less competitive.

Honda Motor surged 3.8 per cent. Mitsubishi Motor jumped 4.4 per cent and Sony added 4.8 per cent. Tire-maker Bridgestone added 4.2 per cent.

Technology stocks were elevated after Apple reported earnings that sailed past analyst estimates. Apple said late Tuesday said it sold 37 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011, vastly exceeding estimates and propelling the company to record quarterly results.

That stellar performance reverberated throughout the global tech industry. South Korea’s LG Electronics, which ranks No. 2 globally in flat screen televisions, jumped 4.1 per cent. Hynix Semiconductor, the world’s second-largest memory chip maker, added 1.9 per cent.

In Australia, shares in Lynas soared 5.1 per cent after the company said it had secured the funding necessary to complete construction and start-up at its rare earths processing plant in Malaysia.

Benchmark oil for March delivery rose 8 cents to $99.03 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 63 cents to end at $98.95 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.

In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.3031 from $1.3021 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose to 77.98 yen from 77.73 yen.

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