World markets rise as Intel’s earnings boost technology shares; oil falls below $79

Friday, January 15, 2010

World markets rise as Intel boosts tech shares

BANGKOK — Intel’s earnings boosted technology stocks Friday but broader gains in world markets were tempered amid patchy figures on the U.S. economy.

Japan’s Nikkei index flickered between red and green before ending higher while most other markets in Asia and Europe rose modestly. The dollar charged higher against the euro, sending the oil price below $79 a barrel.

Giving a lift to technology stocks was results from Intel that confirmed things were looking up for the No. 1 maker of computer microprocessors. Its fourth quarter income, revenues and profit margins all came in well ahead of expectations and the company’s forecasts were rosy.

But caution prevailed overall with weak reports on retail sales and initial unemployment claims in the U.S. adding to the nervousness about slower growth in China after it announced curbs on the lavish lending that has fueled the country’s economic recovery.

As trading got started in Europe, benchmarks in Britain, Germany and France were higher by up to 0.6 percent. Futures augured modest losses Friday on Wall Street. S&P futures were off 1.6 points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,143.60.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average advanced 74.42 points, or 0.7 percent, to 10,982.10 in choppy trading.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 62.79, or 0.3 percent, to 21,654.16 amid news that Beijing has dropped a plan to let mainland Chinese buy shares listed in the territory.

South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1 percent to 1,701.80 and Taiwan’s benchmark added 0.8 percent. Elsewhere, Australia’s market was marginally higher, India’s Sensex rose 0.1 percent, and Indonesia’s benchmark was up 0.3 percent.

Technology stocks across Asia posted gains. Hynix Semiconductor jumped 2.6 percent in Seoul, Foxconn International — a leading contract gadget maker for Apple, Motorola and other major tech firms — surged 6.4 percent in Hong Kong and memory chip maker Elpida added 1.5 percent in Tokyo.

In the U.S. on Thursday, the Dow rose 29.78, or 0.3 percent, to 10,710.55, its highest close since Oct. 1, 2008. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.78, or 0.2 percent, to 1,148.46, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 8.84, or 0.4 percent, to 2,316.74.

Oil prices slid below $79 a barrel in Asia amid a strengthening U.S. dollar and weak crude demand from developed countries.

Benchmark crude for February delivery was down 52 cents at $78.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the contract fell 26 cents to settle at $79.39.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.4402 from $1.4500. The dollar fell to 90.77 yen from 91.19.

will not be displayed