Asian markets drag down international stocks

Thursday, 05 April 2012

Markets were shaped by Asian stocks markets fall on Wednesday. Australia’s ASX/200 Index dipped 0.1%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index plunged 2.3%. European bourses didn’t fare much better, still weighted by last US FED’s warnings.

Asian stock markets were sharply lower on Wednesday, quite affected by the holiday break. They also noted the impact of the US Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting suggested the bank was likely to embark on a third round of monetary easing.

Losses in the retail sector further weighed, with Fast Retailing plunging 5.7% after Asia’s largest apparel retailer reported disappointing March domestic same-store sales results for its Uniqlo casual-clothing chain, ‘Market Watch’ reported. The largest Japanese fashion group bagged a 16.4% increase in its March sales. Its same-store sales increased by 5.1% on a yearly basis while sales at its own stores increased by 14.9%.

Meanwhile, US-based retailer Ann, Inc. – the operator of Ann Taylor and LOFT brand stores - popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner after a large spread was established in the June expiry calls. The stock was up 31.5% off the February 2 year-to-date low of $22.14 (Rs 1,146).

Billabong International Limited has announced today that following the end of the Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRP) pricing period, the shares to be issued to participants in the DRP have been set at AUS2.7157 ($2.58 or Rs 133) per ordinary share. This includes a 2.5% discount to AUS2.7853 ($2.86 or Rs 148) which is the arithmetic average of the daily volume weighted average market price of all Billabong shares sold in the ordinary course of trading on the ASX, including 21 March 2012. Shares will be issued on 19 April 2012.

In the UK, Next Plc came into the limelight, after its Chief Executive Simon Wolfson sold 125,000 shares in the company.  The ‘Wall Street Journal’ highlighted how Wolfson, who has been in charge at Next since 2001, sold the shares at 3,057 pence ($48.52 or Rs 2,513) each for a total of GBP3.8 million and now owns around 0.9% of the company.  By the close of London Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Next dropped 2.9% to 2,972 pence ($47.17 or Rs 2,443) after Wolfson’s sell off.  Next's shares have risen nearly 50% over the last year.

It was a busy day in London,  where the FTSE 100 has rallied 3.3% this year, boosted by the European Central Bank’s 1 trillion euro ($1.3 trillion or Rs 6,73,342 crores) loan to the region’s financial institutions and U.S. economic data that topped estimates, reported ‘Businessweek’. The volume of shares changing hands in FTSE 100-listed companies was 16% more than the average over the past 30 days yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In comparison with other international indexes, the FashionUnited Top 100 closed up at 1,445.12 after adding 12.29 points.

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