Asian markets rallied on Thursday, amid hopes for new economic easing from Europe. The Nikkei climbed .9% to 8443, the Kospi advanced .7% to 1782, and the ASX 200 rose .6% to 4148. The Hang Seng managed a slight .1% gain to 18893, while the Shanghai Composite bucked the trend, sliding .5% to 2126, a 2-year low. Canon shares dropped more than 10% to a 3-year low after cutting its profit forecast.
A powerful rally lifted European markets, following encouraging remarks by ECB president, Mario Draghi. Draghi pledged to take whatever measures were necessary to preserve the euro, triggering a buying frenzy. The CAC40 surged 4.1% to 3207, the DAX jumped 2.8% to 6583, and the FTSE rose 1.4% to 5573.
The upbeat cheer crossed the Atlantic, but the gains were slightly less spectacular. The Dow rallied 211 points to 12887, the S&P 500 climbed 1.7% to 1360, and the Nasdaq gained 1.4% to 2893.
Zygna shares tumbled 37% to 3.17 after missing earnings forecasts and offering weak guidance for the year. Facebook shares tanked 8.5% amid fears that Zygna’s troubles point to a slowdown in traffic for Facebook.
Treasuries and Commodities
10-year notes dropped 10/32 to yield 1.43%, and 30-year notes slumped 1 1/32 to yield 2.50%.
Energy advanced, led by natural gas’s 1.1% gain to 3.104. Gasoline ticked up .7% to 2.8125, and crude oil settled up .6% to 89.46.
Copper rose .6% to 3.394, gold added .4% to 1615, and silver edged up fractionally to 27.48.
Agricultural futures retreated, as sugar tumbled 4.5%, soybeans slumped 3%, and wheat dropped 2.1%.
European currencies posted large gains following the Draghi’s remarks. The Pound surged 1.3% to 1.5689, while the Euro and Swiss Franc climbed 1.1% to 1.2285 and .9775 respectively. The Australian Dollar gained .9% to 1.0401, and the Canadian Dollar rose .6% to 1.0094.
Thursday’s economic data was a mixed bag. Weekly unemployment claims dropped by 35K o 353K from 388K, blowing past forecasts. Durable foods orders rose by 1.6%, significantly more than the .4% gain expected. However, pending home sales unexpectedly slumped 1.4%.
Friday’s data will include GDP and consumer sentiment.
Earnings are due from Arch Coal, Calpine, Chevron, DR Horton, Legg Mason, Merck, Newmont Mining, and Weyerhaeuser.