CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) –
Microsoft Corp has no plans to acquire Electronic Arts, a Microsoft executive said, shooting down unsubstantiated talk of a potential bid that triggered a spike in the video game publisher's shares.
"We have no plans to acquire EA," Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. "They remain a very important partner to us. No acquisitions."
Spencer declined to comment on whether it had held talks with Electronics Arts on such a move.
Shares of Electronics Arts jumped more than 8 percent on Wednesday on unsubstantiated talk that Microsoft may want to buy the video game publisher.
Last year, Electronic Arts, the publisher of popular titles like "Madden" football, unsuccessfully pursued a buyout of rival video game company Take Two Interactive Software.
The Redwood City, California-based company, which has a market value of $6.5 billion, is frequently named by traders as a target for Walt Disney Co and Time Warner Inc.
(Reporting by Colin Parrott and Nathan Layne)
SEOUL, South Korea – World stock markets fell Thursday amid a big drop in oil prices and as investors worried that support measures for the fragile global economy will be withdrawn too quickly.
The declines came after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged at a regular meeting Wednesday, as widely expected, and said the pace of economic activity has "picked up" since its last meeting in August.
But the Fed also said it would again slow some of its purchases of mortgage-backed securities, which have been part of the extraordinary support the central bank has given the U.S. economy over the past year.
Investors have focused on when central bankers and governments will begin to unwind some of the measures they have taken to boost the global economy since the onset of the global financial crisis one year ago.
"I think people get scared when the central bankers talk about the withdrawal from the market," said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. "I think investors got coddled by the government for too long."
As trading got underway in Europe, Germany's DAX was down 1.3 percent, Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.7 percent and France's CAC 40 lost 1 percent. Stock futures pointed to losses Thursday on Wall Street. Dow futures shed 42, or 0.4 percent, to 9,675.
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was the biggest loser, falling 544.79, or 2.5 percent to 21,050.73. South Korea's Kospi declined 17.59, or 1 percent, to 1,693.88.
Most other markets also lost ground, including Australia's benchmark, down 0.7 percent, as lower oil prices hit commodity stocks. India's Sensex was off 0.8 percent. Markets in the Philippines, New Zealand and Singapore also fell but China's Shanghai index gained 0.4 percent.
Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average, closed for the first three days of this week due to a string of national holidays, was Asia's bright spot, gaining 173.68, or 1.7 percent, to 10,544.22.
In Tokyo trade, ailing Japan Airlines Corp. dived 15.8 percent as its president met with officials to appeal for taxpayer funds to keep the carrier flying.
Struggling Japanese consumer finance company Aiful Corp. plunged 23.9 percent after forecasting an annual loss and saying it will cut 2,000 jobs, or about 44 percent of its workers.
In New York on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 81.32, or 0.8 percent, to 9,748.55. Broader indices also declined.
Oil prices were lower in Asia after falling nearly 4 percent Wednesday on an unexpected jump in U.S. crude inventories that suggested consumer demand remains weak. Benchmark crude for November delivery was down 71 cents at $68.25.
The dollar fell to 90.62 yen from 91.43 yen. The euro rose to $1.4747 from $1.4707.
Associated Press Writer Shino Yuasa in Tokyo contributed to this report.
LONDON (Reuters) –
World stocks slipped from the previous day's 11-month high on Thursday after oil prices fell and caution grew ahead of the Group of 20 summit meeting, prompting investors to cut back on risky assets.
U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as investors grew worried that the Federal Reserve may be closer to pulling back on extraordinarily loose monetary policy.
However, the Fed promised on Wednesday to hold interest rates very low for a long time after leaving them close to zero percent as expected, which supported government bonds across the board in Europe.
The timing for exit strategy -- or plans to unwind emergency economic support -- is a key issue for investors as the two-day G20 summit in Pittsburgh starts on Thursday. G20 leaders are seeking ways to nurture the recovery from the recession and build safeguards against future catastrophes.
Crude oil prices fell below $69 a barrel, adding to a nearly four percent drop on Wednesday, after data showing an unexpectedly high build up in U.S. oil and products stockpiles raised concerns oil prices may have risen too fast.
Thursday's decline in world stocks follows a near 27 percent rise since January in the benchmark MSCI world equity index, recouping more than half of last year's losses.
"It's a dose of reality. Although there is cash out there, investors are saying no thank you, we have gone high enough and want to take money out of the market," said Justin Urquhart Stewart, director at Seven Investment Management. The MSCI world index fell 0.3 percent while the FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3) fell more than 1 percent.
Emerging stocks (.MSCIEF) fell 0.9 percent.
Sterling fell broadly after Bank of England governor Mervyn King said the weaker pound is helping a necessary rebalancing of the UK economy toward exports.
The UK currency fell as low as 90.89 pence per euro, its weakest since April, and was down 0.6 percent to $1.6238.
In the bond markets, the euro zone's benchmark September bund future rose 47 ticks.
The dollar (.DXY) rose a quarter percent against a basket of major currencies.
"Given the lengthy period of time it will likely take the economy and financial markets to fully recover, we do not foresee the Fed raising rates before the first quarter of 2011," Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch said in a note to clients.
(Additional reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)