US stocks weight markets while Asian shares bright as ever

Thursday, 31 January 2013

It was black and white (red in such a trading context) for both Asian and American markets on Wednesdays. While the US-listed companies comprehended within mayor indexes lost historical heights, the Asian markets traded near multi-year highs.

In the American markets, Ben Bernanke got all the attention, as the Federal Reserve said it will maintain its program to buy securities after the economy unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter. In consequence, US stocks fell, dragging benchmark indexes from five-year highs, reported Bloomberg.

Despite the slip, 2013 has started strongly for the mayority of quoted companies in the United States, with circa 75 percent of the 195 companies in the S&P 500 that have released results so far in the quarter exceeded profit projections. Sixty-six percent have surpassed sales estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Destination Maternity Corporation (DEST), the world’s leading maternity apparel retailer, today announced that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.175 (Rs 9.33) per share. The cash dividend will be payable March 28, 2013 to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 7, 2013.

Still in the US, Zacks reiterated their neutral rating on shares of Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $50.00 (Rs 2,661) target price on the stock.

Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Dick’s Sporting s third-quarter fiscal 2012 earnings of $0.40 (Rs 21.29) per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.37 (Rs 19.74), and surged 25 percent from the prior-year quarter. Net sales grew 11.2% to $1,312 million (Rs 69,939 crores) and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,296 million (Rs 68,973 crores). The better-than-expected performance instilled confidence, prompting management to raise fiscal 2012 earnings guidance to a range of $2.53-$2.55 (Rs 134-Rs136) from $2.47 $2.51 (Rs 131-Rs133) anticipated earlier. Moreover, we believe Dick’s is progressing well given its growth initiatives, which include store expansion strategy, effective inventory management, private label offerings and technological enhancements to better serve its patrons. However, the stock remains susceptible to sluggish economic recovery and cautious consumer spending. In addition, a premium valuation limits further upside. Currently, we maintain our Neutral recommendation on the full-line sporting goods retailer.”

Asian markets traded near multi-year highs on Wednesday as upbeat corporate earnings spurred confidence ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy decision later in the day, reported ´Morning Star´. Topping the regional indexes was Japan's benchmark Nikkei index, up 1.1 percent and close to the 32-month high of 11,0002 it reached on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng was up 0.2 percent after hitting its highest intra-day level since May 2011.

Some retailers were also in focus after data showed retail sales for December rose 0.4 percent from a year ago. Fast Retailing gained 2.6 percent while in Hong Kong Esprit Holdings climbed 1.1 percent and Giordano International Ltd. added 1.3 percent.

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