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Carlos Ghosn Granted Bail by Tokyo Court
Topic of the day
A Tokyo court approved the release of Carlos Ghosn on bail, raising the prospect that the former Nissan Motor Co. chairman could soon be released after 3 1/2 months in jail. Prosecutors quickly appealed Tuesday's ruling, but if the appeal fails, Mr. Ghosn could be released within a day or two. The Tokyo District Court set bail for Mr. Ghosn at $8.9 million and said he must remain in Japan. Mr. Ghosn's lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, said after the ruling that the court's order includes limits on Mr. Ghosn's computer and smartphone so that he can't communicate with people overseas. The lawyer had said Monday that Mr. Ghosn's latest bail application also included monitoring by surveillance cameras. Mr. Hironaka said he didn't expect Mr. Ghosn to be released Tuesday because of the time needed for the appeal. Mr. Ghosn has been detained by prosecutors since Nov. 19 and has twice been denied bail. Prosecutors have argued Mr. Ghosn could tamper with evidence or flee Japan if released on bail. In Japan, defendants who don't confess are often held until their trial begins or shortly before. "It'd be rare for a suspect who denies allegations against him in such a big case to be released on bail, especially when there are lots of people involved in the case, including overseas," said former prosecutor Yoji Ochiai.
The SMI gained 0.1 percent to 9,399 points Tuesday, with traders saying a breather was in order after rising more than 11 percent since the start of the year, but saying also that hopes of a US-China trade agreement and expectations of a longer easing of monetary policy were now priced in. Chinese Trade Minister Zhong Shan also warned that negotiators still had a lot to do. Market mood was buoyed by Chinese People’s Congress measures to reduce risks to China’s economic growth. The market could also gain traction from Thursday’s ECB meeting and Friday’s US labour market report. Richemont slid 4 percent after an analyst downgrade two levels to “underperform”, pulling competitor Swatch down 1.2 percent. Novartis recovered 1 percent on news of positive study results for its medication Cosentyx. Roche rose 0.5 percent after an uneventful annual meeting. Lindt closed unchanged on releasing its annual report. Biopharma company Newron fell 2.5 percent on releasing financials and outlook.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index ended up 0.55 point, or 0.15%, to 375.64, up now for four consecutive trading days. The index is up 3.06 points, or 0.82%, over the last four trading days -- the largest four-day point and percentage gain since Feb. 25. The FTSE 100 Index was up 49.04 points, or 0.69%, to 7183.43, the largest one-day point and percentage gain since Feb. 20. The DAX ends 0.24% higher at 11620.74 -- up 28.08 points to 11620.74, and is now up nine of the past 11 trading days. Meanwhile, the CAC-40 Index was up 10.95 points, or 0.21% to 5297.52 - up for four consecutive trading days.
U.S. stocks edged higher intraday, a day after major indexes suffered their worst drop in nearly a month on lingering concerns about global growth and the health of the domestic economy. Newly published data mollified some fears about the U.S. economy, and U.S. stocks pared earlier losses following the releases. Solid earnings results from Kohl's and Target also helped boost retailers' stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33 points, or 0.1%, in recent trading, after earlier falling as much as 94 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gained 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively. Among the upbeat economic news, sales of new homes rose in December, the Commerce Department said in a report that had been postponed because of the partial shutdown of the federal government.
After a muted start, Asia Pacific equities were generally higher. Chinese benchmarks led the advance, lifted by promises the legislature will enact measures to open the economy and cool trade tensions. Japan's Nikkei was the regional laggard, down almost 0.8% on fresh weakness in auto stocks and some strength in the yen. China will bar government authorities from demanding overseas companies hand over technology secrets in exchange for market share, Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the Cabinet's economic planning agency told reporters at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing. The measure addresses complaints that China forces companies to share technology, a key issue in the trade war between the U.S. and China.
U.S. government-bond prices fell intraday as investors shed safe assets amid signs of continued economic growth. The yield on the benchmark U.S. government 10-year note recently rose to 2.742%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.722% Monday. Yields, which rise as bond prices fall, climbed after the Institute for Supply Management said that its nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 59.7 in February from 56.7 in January.
CS rises the Zalando target to 38 (37) EUR – Outperform
Barclays lowers the Vallourec target to 2,80 (3,00) EUR – Underweight
Dt. Bank rises the Linde target to 167 (164) EUR – Buy
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