Archive for November, 2008

Australian stock index rises 5 percent (AP)

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 | Finance News

SYDNEY, Australia – Australia's benchmark stock index rose more than 5 percent Monday in the market's best performance in almost two weeks in anticipation of a central bank rate cut Tuesday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index advanced 203.5, or 5.06 percent, to 4,221.5, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 190.3 points, or 4.78 percent, to 4,173.

It was the biggest rise for both indices since Oct. 13, and stocks reflecting consumer items and staples performed strongly .

The Reserve Bank of Australia is widely expected to cut the overnight cash rate by half a percentage point to 5.5 percent the bank's board holds its monthly meeting Tuesday.

The bank cut the rate by a full percentage point when it last met on Oct. 8.

It was the share markets' fourth consecutive stronger trading day and the strongest close since Oct. 21.

Macquarie Equities associate director Lucinda Chan said a good lead from Wall Street on Friday, combined with positive sentiment and the anticipation of another cut to interest rates Tuesday pushed the market into positive territory.

"The Australian dollar is also trading firmly at 68 cents as we speak which has added to an overall sense of confidence," she said. Volumes were relatively light on the local bourse given the public holiday in Japan, Chan said.

Consumer staples were the standout sector Monday, with major stocks posting strong gains despite weak September household spending data, Chan said.

"Their rises are unbelievable," she said.

Supermarket chain Woolworths jumped 1.83 Australian dollars ($1.25), or 6.58 percent, to AU$29.63 ($20.27), while agricultural group Wesfarmers leapt AU$2.88 ($1.97), or 13.41 percent, to AU$24.35 ($16.65).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the 1.1 percent decline in retail sales on a seasonally adjusted basis during September was the biggest monthly fall since April 2005.


Rescue cash could lure 1,800 institutions: report (Reuters)

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 | Finance News

(Reuters) –
As many as 1,800 publicly held institutions could apply for U.S. government investments in coming weeks, the Wall Street Journal said, citing Treasury and banking regulators.

Depending upon conditions still being crafted by Treasury, thousands more private banks could apply for government capital as well, a Treasury spokeswoman told the paper on Sunday.

The government's $700 billion rescue plan, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), has earmarked about $250 billion to recapitalize the troubled banking sector and spur lending.

So far, nine of the largest banks are due to receive $125 billion and 16 regional banks have accepted more than $33 billion of government cash.

The Treasury could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore)


Lowe’s sees election wrap-up helping sentiment: report (Reuters)

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 | Finance News

(Reuters) –
Wrapping up Tuesday's U.S. presidential elections, regardless of the outcome, will by itself help consumer sentiment, retailer Lowe's Cos (LOW.N) President Larry Stone told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

Stone sounded concerned with negative presidential campaign ads, the paper said.

Stone declined to comment on recent business trends or Wall Street's expectations for coming periods but indicated that certain products continued to sell decently, according to the paper.

"Our replacement business has been good," Stone told the paper. "Our appliance business is not totally robust, but it's been good."

Market-tracking firm Traqline's third-quarter numbers for Lowe's on appliances were good, and the industry level of discounting and promotions has been "status quo" from previous quarters, Stone told the paper.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore)