Selasa, 31 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Wall Street ends best year in more than 15 years

Posted: 31 Dec 2013 03:33 PM PST

NEW YORK: Stocks closed out their best year in more than 15 on Tuesday, with major indexes advancing throughout 2013 on the back of the Federal Reserve's massive stimulus and expectations for accelerating growth going forward.

Wall Street ended 2013 with its positive momentum intact, advancing in its final trading day of the year on the back of positive consumer confidence data.

The S&P 500 rose 29.6 percent over the year, its best annual performance since 1997, while the Dow climbed 26.5 percent in its best year since 1995. The Nasdaq jumped 38.3 percent, its best year since 2009.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 finished the final trading day of 2013 at record closing highs.

In a sign of improving sentiment, the CBOE Volatility Index <.VIX> or VIX fell 23.9 percent over the year, the biggest annual drop for the so-called "fear index" since 2009.

All 10 S&P 500 sector indexes ended the year with gains as investors rode the Fed's extraordinary stimulus in a year that had only the slightest of hiccups. Wall Street even weathered a partial shutdown of the U.S. government, as well as the recent announcement that the Fed would trim its monthly bond purchases in response to an improving economic picture.

"This has been a terrific year, with all the concerns we had in January (2013) proving unfounded, and with current economic growth giving us a strong outlook for 2014," said John Carey, portfolio manager atPioneer Investment Management in Boston.

Trading volume was once again light in U.S. markets, which will be closed Wednesday for the New Year's holiday. Still, investors found reasons to buy after a read on consumer confidence rose more than expected in December.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.2 percent in October from September, but posted the strongest annualized gain in October in more than seven years.

"There's been a generally positive trend to news, including the confidence report, which bodes well for conditions next year and gives us really no reason to sell," said Carey, who helps oversee $220 billion in assets.

About 63 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange closed higher for the day, while 55 percent of the shares traded on the Nasdaq ended in positive territory.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 72.37 points, or 0.44 percent, to end at 16,576.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> advanced 7.29 points, or 0.40 percent, to finish at 1,848.36. TheNasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 22.39 points, or 0.54 percent, to close at 4,176.59.

The Dow also touched an all-time intraday high of 16,588.25 on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 set a record intraday peak of 1,849.44.

In the fourth quarter, the Dow rose 9.6 percent, the S&P 500 gained 9.9 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 10.7 percent. In December alone, the Dow advanced 3 percent, the S&P 500 rose 2.4 percent and the Nasdaq shot up 2.9 percent. It was the fourth straight monthly rally for all three.

Gains in the year were led by consumer discretionary stocks, with the sector index <.SPLRCD> up 40.4 percent. The sectors with the slimmest gains of the year - telecom <.SPLRCL>, which rose 6.6 percent, and utilities <.SPSMCU>, up 16.5 percent - are both considered defensive groups.

Among specific names, Netflix Inc <NFLX.O> was the S&P 500's biggest gainer, soaring 295.6 percent.Newmont Mining <NEM.N> was the index's biggest loser, falling 50.6 percent in 2013. Only 38 stocks in the S&P 500 ended the year in the red.

Few investors expect 2014 to deliver the same scale of returns. According to the most recent Reuters equity poll, the S&P 500 is seen rising to 1,925 by the end of 2014, which represents an upside of 4.1 percent from current levels.

In the corporate arena, Hertz Global Holdings Inc <HTZ.N> surged 10.5 percent to close at $28.62 after the company said it had adopted a one-year shareholder rights plan in response to "unusual and substantial activity" it has observed in its shares.

Marvell Technology Group Ltd <MRVL.O> jumped 4.5 percent to end at $14.38 after private equity firmKKR & Co LLP <KKR.N> reported a 6.8 percent stake in the chipmaker, according to a regulatory filing.

Twitter Inc <TWTR.N> broke its steep two-day losing streak, gaining 5.2 percent to close at $63.65. The stock's price had tumbled 17 percent between Thursday and Monday.

About 4.31 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to BATS exchange data, well below the December average of 5.89 billion shares.- Reuters

Everton have no need to sell Barkley says ambitious Martinez

Posted: 31 Dec 2013 05:06 PM PST

LONDON: Everton can resist any bids for highly-prized young England midfielder Ross Barkley when the January transfer window opens because they are in a strong financial position, manager Roberto Martinez said on Tuesday.

Barkley, who turned 20 this month, has been linked with a 50 million pounds ($82.63 million) move to Manchester United after a series of excellent displays which have helped lift Everton into the top four of the Premier League.

Speaking at his pre-match news conference before Wednesday's match at Stoke City, the Spaniard was asked if he was confident that the club could turn down approaches for the player.

Martinez said: "Yes. Absolutely. There is not even a doubt.

"He has a long-term contract and the first half of the season has been a real joy to see him grow and the second half of the season will be even better.

"We are in a strong position financially. When you have to bring in money then it can be a real difficult position as you can be anxious and frustrated.

"The stability we have from a financial point of view allows us to make football decisions and this January window is important for us to make sure we kick on and finish stronger than we started."

Barkley has not only become a first-team regular this season, he has also won his first England caps, playing three times, against MoldovaChile and Germany.

Martinez has described him as a mix of Paul Gascoigne, the former England midfielder and Michael Ballack, the former Germany one, while his former Everton team mate Tim Cahill said he was the most talented player he had ever worked with.


He has played in 18 of Everton's 19 Premier League matches so far and scored with a brilliantly-executed late free kick in Everton's 2-1 win at Swansea City last week.

Everton are currently fourth in the table and could climb to third if Chelsea lose at Southampton and they win at Stoke whose form at home has been in stark contrast to their away performances.

Stoke lost 5-1 at Newcastle United and 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur over Christmas and have the worst away record in the Premier League, but 16 of their 21 points have come at home where they have lost once in nine games.

Martinez expects a tough match at the Britannia, telling reporters: "You look at their last two results, there was a freak performance against Newcastle and that affected them going into Spurs.

"Stoke at home are unbeaten in their last six. They have won their last two. When they play at the Britannia they are an extremely difficult team.

"We know what we are facing and we need to be at our best and fully recovered. I expect a very difficult game tomorrow."

Having lost only two games so far this season, the fewest in the Premier League, Martinez is pleased with Everton's progress.

"It's been a very good start. Halfway through is a good landmark to assess where we are and we have 37 points which is significant," he said.

"But the most important aspect is how we got those 37 points. It's not been a matter of being lucky or fortunate in key moments - it's the opposite.

"We have had the lowest amount of defeats and the draws we have had, they were probably closer to victories.

"The performances we have had at very special places - like Old Trafford, the Emirates and the Liberty Stadium - gives us great excitement going into the second half of the season."

($1 = 0.6051 British pounds)- Reuters

Hewlett-Packard to cut 5,000 more jobs

Posted: 31 Dec 2013 04:54 PM PST

NEW YORK: Hewlett-Packard Co said it would cut 5,000 more jobs, bringing the total number of layoffs to 34,000, or 11 percent of its workforce.

The company said in a regulatory filing on Monday that it would record a charge of $4.1 billion in 2014, up from its prior estimate of $3.6 billion. 

HP is striving to get back to growth through job cuts and focusing on businesses with longer-term potential such as enterprise services.

HP had estimated that it would cut about 29,000 jobs through fiscal year 2014.

The company had about 317,500 employees as of October 31.

Shares of the company were little changed at $27.92 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The stock has gained 96 percent so far this year.- Reuters


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