Stocks No Comments

China Telecom Shares Fall Amid Probe Into Boss

Hong Kong (AFP) – Shares in China Telecom dropped as much as three percent Monday after news its head was under investigation, the latest high-profile target in a corruption crackdown.

The firm, one of China’s big-three telcos, saw its shares trade as low as HK$3.62 ($0.47) on Hong Kong’s bourse compared to the previous closing of HK$3.73.

At Monday’s close the drop had narrowed to 1.34 percent, with the shares ending at HK$3.68.

The probe into Chang Xiaobing for “severe disciplinary violations” was announced by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the watchdog of the ruling Communist Party.

The term is normally a euphemism for graft.

Chang had been “taken away”, according to an article in the respected business magazine Caijing, adding that he disappeared just days before a meeting of the state-owned company planned for December 28.

Chang’s phone was switched off and he had not responded to multiple calls, it added.

“Since last year, when the authorities were probing oil companies, we knew they would be doing this for other sectors. Now it’s telecoms,” financial analyst Jackson Wong from the brokerage firm Simsen Financial group told AFP.

Wong said investors were moving cautiously pending further details of the probe.

Authorities have been pursuing a hard-hitting campaign against allegedly crooked officials since President Xi Jinping took office in 2013, a crusade that some experts have called a political purge.

After a stock market rout this summer, the nation’s financial sector was under the spotlight with several high-level executives reportedly being hauled in.

Billionaire Guo Guangchang, dubbed China’s Warren Buffett, disappeared from public view earlier this month amid reports he had been detained by police in Shanghai.

He briefly resurfaced afterwards but his conglomerate flagship Fosun confirmed the 48-year-old was “assisting in certain investigations” by Chinese authorities.

Stocks No Comments

World Stocks Slide On China, Oil Worries

Paris (AFP) – World stocks fell on Monday as a weakening economic outlook for powerhouse China and renewed falls in the oil price prompted a sell-off.

Turnover was muted, however, with many operators still on end-year breaks and the key London exchange closed for a bank holiday.

Wall Street was down 0.5 percent in early business and the Nasdaq fell 0.4 percent.

But Disney shares jumped on “Star Wars” record ticket sales and Amazon gained on higher holiday subscriptions in New York.

Also in New York, February WTI oil futures opened 89 cents lower at $37.21, paring the previous week’s short-lived gains.

European oil stocks and some industrials came under pressure from the twin impact of weak oil prices and ominous slowdown signs from Asia.

In Paris, the CAC 40 extended opening losses to show a 0.7 percent drop, while Frankfurt’s DAX was off 0.6 percent in mid-afternoon.

US and European markets had refrained from major swings in their final sessions Thursday before the festive break, avoiding fireworks after heavy volatility in the preceding days.

“The between-the-holidays period has never been much of one for big movements in the financial markets,” said Barclays Bourse analyst Philippe Cohen.

In Asia, markets broadly fell as a decline in profits at China’s industrial firms reignited worries about the world’s number two economy, but bargain-buying helped Tokyo snap a five-day losing streak.

Industrial profits slid 1.4 percent to 672.1 billion yuan ($104 billion) in November, according to data released on Sunday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

“We see weakness across industries, with few signs of improvement,” Steve Wang, chief China economist at Reorient Financial Markets in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.

The fresh figures weighed on mainland markets with Shanghai down 2.59 percent and Shenzhen off 2.18 percent by the close.

Shares in China Telecom dropped as much as three percent after news its head was under investigation for “severe disciplinary violations”, the latest high-profile target in a corruption crackdown.

On currency markets the dollar rose to 120.53 yen from 120.19 on Friday in Tokyo, as investors bought back the US currency after it hit a two-month low against the Japanese unit last week.

A weak yen is a plus for Japanese exporters, as it boosts their repatriated profits and competitiveness overseas.

Dealers largely ignored a 1.0 percent decline in Japan’s factory output in November — after two months of gains — announced by the government shortly before Tokyo opened Monday morning.

The disappointing data comes after separate figures last week showed still-weak inflation and household spending, as the world’s number three economy struggles to stage a recovery.

– Key figures around 1445 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.56 percent at 18,873.35 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.99 percent at 21,919.62 (close).

Sydney – S&P/ASX200: closed Monday for public holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0974 from $1.0965 Friday in Tokyo

Dollar/yen: UP to 120.28 yen from 120.19 yen Friday in Tokyo

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent from Thursday at 17,471.43. Closed Friday for Christmas.

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,254.64 Thursday. Closed Friday for Christmas and Monday for a public holiday.

Stocks No Comments

Shanghai, Hong Kong Stocks Up After China Reform Pledge

Hong Kong, Dec 22, 2015 (AFP) – Shanghai and Hong Kong stocks climbed Tuesday, tracking a Wall Street rally and following pledges from China’s leaders to push fresh reforms to shore up the world’s number two economy.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.26 percent or 9.30 points to 3,651.77. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, added 0.92 percent or 21.64 points to end at 2,379.63.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index gained 0.18 percent, or 38.34 points, to close at 21,830.02.

Stocks No Comments

US Stocks Rise As US Growth Meets Expectations

New York, Dec 22, 2015 (AFP) – Wall Street stocks opened higher Tuesday after US data showed third-quarter economic growth in line with expectations at two percent.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,302.79, up 51.17 points (0.30 percent).

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 6.12 (0.30 percent) to 2,027.27, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 11.07 (0.22 percent) to 4,980.00.

The estimate for US growth in the July to September period was shaved from 2.1 percent to 2.0 percent, in part because of lower business investment in inventories.

The report showed personal consumption expenditure, which drives about two-thirds of the activity in the US economy, rose by an estimated 3.0 percent. Barclays rated the consumption spending as “solid.”

Stocks No Comments

Oil Prices Fall Again As US Rig Count Rises

New York, Dec 18, 2015 (AFP) – Oil prices fell for the third straight session Friday as a higher US drilling rig count added to gloom over a market glutted with petroleum.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery dropped 22 cents to $34.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a fresh low since February 2009.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February fell 18 cents to $36.88 a barrel. Read more

Stocks No Comments

US Stocks End Volatile Week Sharply Lower; Dow -2.1%

New York, Dec 18, 2015 (AFP) – The Dow dropped more than two percent Friday as US stocks finished a volatile week sharply lower due in part to worries about falling oil prices.

Shortly after the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17.126.92, down 368.92 points (2.11 percent).

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 36.46 (1.79 percent) to 2,005.43, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 79.47 (1.59 percent) at 5,923.08. Read more