Online Retail: Bricks versus Clicks

We look at how listed retailers are placed to deal with the challenges and capture the opportunities from the shift to online shopping.

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Global Markets Gained

Most major indices rallied following the ECB announcement that it will begin further stimulus measures next week. Corporate activity in the US helped overshadow disappointing employment benefit results. China set its official growth goal at 7%, the slowest target pace of expansion in 25 years.

US stocks fluctuate amid M&A activity and disappointing economic data

US indices swung between gains and losses amid merger and acquisition activity. At last glance the S&P 500 was flat having erased earlier gains while the Dow Jones Industrial Average had edged up +0.2%. Although forecasted to fall, data today showed that those seeking unemployment benefits in the US rose.

Pharmacyclics surged +10.5% after AbbVie (-3.3%) agreed to pay US$21bn for the company, which makes the highly successful blood cancer drug Imbruvica. Mallinckrodt climbed +4.1% following the purchase of Ikaria for US$2.3bn. Vertex Pharmaceuticals jumped +5.5% on speculation one of its pipeline drugs may get early approval. Costco added +1.4% as 2Q sales outperformed peers.

ECB to begin quantitative easing programme 9 March, shares gain 

The Stoxx Europe 600 advanced +0.8% following the ECB meeting, where the central bank announced that asset purchases are to begin next week while interest rates will be maintained at a record lows. Carrefour added +3.2% after reporting earnings results. Adidas climbed +3.0% as it released net income guidance for 2015.

The UK’s FTSE 100 rose +0.6% to flirt with highs. Aviva jumped +7.3% after announcing higher returns for shareholders. Friends Life, which is getting bought by Aviva, jumped +7.2% on earnings results. ITV gained +2.8% on a rating upgrade. The BOE held its benchmark rate at 0.5%.

Japanese stocks buoyed by healthcare gains

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped -0.1% after China set its target for economic growth for 2015 at +7%, the lowest target set in 25 years.

Japan’s Topix added +0.4%, paring back the previous day’s losses. Toray Industries jumped +4.8% following a rating upgrade. Eisai surged +7.2% on plans to collaborate with Merck (+0.2%) to study cancer drug combinations. Olympus Corp slipped -2.9% on reports the company’s endoscopes, which have been linked with deaths, were sold without regulatory approval.

ASX 200 flat

The ASX 200 closed little changed.

Crude down, gold up

WTI crude fell -0.9% to US$51.06 while gold rose +0.3% to US$1,203.73.



Today’s Events

StatsNZ: Wholesale Trade Survey - December 2014 qtr

World Cup Cricket: Match 28 - India vs West Indies (7:30pm)

SKT Ex interim div 15.0 cps

SUM Ex final div 2.1 cps

WHS 1H14 result


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