European Markets are called to open higher this morning.
Most Asian stocks rose, led by technology stocks, as rivals of Nokia Oyj gained after the mobile-phone maker lowered its sales and profit forecasts as it lost market share to rivals including Apple Inc.
HTC Corp., a Taiwanese maker of smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android and Microsoft operating systems, advanced 2.5 percent. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s second-biggest mobile phone maker by sales, increased 0.8 percent. Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant at the center of the worst nuclear accident in 25 years, slumped 5.1 percent in Tokyo after Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit said the utility’s future as a listed company hinges on government policy.
“Nokia’s cut of its forecast does help the shares of its more aggressive competitors like HTC, Apple and Samsung,” Sam Hsieh a Taipei-based fund manager at Fuh Hwa Investment Trust Co., who helps oversee the equivalent of $7.8 billion. “But Nokia has been weak for a long time, so investors have mostly priced in. Any impact would be short-term.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 percent to 136.82 as of 1:49 p.m. in Tokyo, with about six stocks rising for every five that fell. The 1,016-company gauge last week completed its longest streak of weekly losses in two years as concern deepened over Europe’s debt crisis and amid speculation a slowing global recovery will crimp earnings.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent even as a report showed that the country’s economy shrank in the first quarter by the most in 20 years after flooded coal mines, railways and farmland hurt exports. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased 0.3 percent and South Korea’s Kospi Index added 0.1 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index climbed 0.9 percent.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.3 percent after a report showed the nation’s manufacturing expanded at the slowest pace in nine months in May as the government extended a campaign to cool inflation and the property market. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.1 percent.
The rally in U.S. stocks regained momentum Tuesday afternoon, but the day’ gains weren’t enough to lift the market out of the red for the month.
In fact, the market’ performance in May was the worst since August 2010. The Dow tumbled nearly 2% for the month, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost 1.3%.
May has been a rough month for the stock market as investors wrestle with signs of a slower recovery.
On Tuesday, investors sifted through yet another batch of weak U.S. economic data that showed a decline in home prices, regional manufacturing activity and consumer confidence.
But optimism about the possible bailout for Greece, sparked by a Wall Street Journal article, gave stocks a boost.
The Dow Jones industrial average surged 128 points, or 1%. All but one of the Dow’ components posted gains, with Pfizer, Cisco and Alcoa leading the advance.
The S&P 500 added 14 points, or 1.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 38 points, or 1.4%.
The Journal reported that Germany is shifting its stance to consider lending more money to debt-ridden Greece. Previously, German officials had said that private investors in Greece should share some of the burden in any new bailout, but according to the Journal, Germany is now considering lending additional assistance — even without private bondholders getting involved.
“The market is battling between growing fears that the U.S. economy is headed toward another downturn, and some progress on the European debt problems,” said Peter Tuz, president at Chase Investment Counsel.
Events this week
Wednesday: The first of this week’ jobs-related economic reports will be released on Wednesday: ADP private-sector employment at 8:15 a.m. and Challenger job cuts at 7:30 a.m.
Both sets of data are typically used to forecast the government’ monthly jobs data, which is out on Friday. For the ADP report, economists expect that private employers created 170,000 jobs in May.
At 10 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management will release its May manufacturing index and the Commerce Department will issue its April construction spending report.
The ISM Index is expected to slip to 57.6 from April’ reading of 60.4, while construction spending is expected to decrease 0.5%.
The major auto manufacturers also release their May sales figures on Wednesday, starting at around 11 a.m.
Thursday: The Labor Department will release the initial jobless claims report at 8:30 a.m., as well as first quarter productivity figures.
Weekly jobless claims are expected to fall to 413,000, while first-quarter productivity figures will remain unchanged at 1.6% growth.
Also out on Thursday is the Commerce Department’ April factory orders report, which is expected to fall 0.9%.
Friday: All eyes on Friday will be on the May jobs report, out at 8:30 a.m.
The Institute for Supply Management will put out its May services index at 10 a.m. Economists are looking for the ISM services index to edge up to 53.3 from April’ 52.8