European Stocks Follow Wall Street Lower

2:21 PM / Posted by E-pr0 / comments (4)

European stocks opened lower Wednesday, as investors take their lead from overnight losses on Wall Street amid concerns about the strength of the global economic recovery.

The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 shed 0.3%. The U.K. FTSE 100 also lost 0.3%, while the French CAC-40 declined 0.6% and Germany's DAX slipped 0.1%.

"Equity markets could be set for another grueling session after the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a triple-digit loss last night and Asian markets have followed suit," said Matt Buckland, a dealer at CMC Markets.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 161.27 points, or 1.9%, to 8163.60. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index lost 17.69, or 2.0%, to 881.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 41.23, or 2.3%, to 1746.17.

"Commodity prices remain under pressure, which is clearly weighing on the resource stocks, whilst the downbeat economic outlook is hardly doing anything to impress the banks either," Mr. Buckland added.

Attention will turn to the start of the second-quarter corporate earnings season in the U.S., with numbers from Alcoa leading things off.

Elsewhere, Asian stock markets were lower Wednesday, dragged down by ongoing weakness in oil and metal prices.

"The market's in a holding pattern," said Macquarie Equities broker Brad Gordon in Auckland. "There's all the talk of green shoots yet there are also lagging indicators of job losses."

NetResearch Asia chairman Kevin Scully warned the risk of further correction was high if the upcoming earnings season were to disappoint. "We might see some of the quick recovery premiums being given back, especially if and when the reporting season delivers or gives guidance that is lower than the forecasts."

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 2.4% at 9420.75, closing below 9500 for the first time since May 28. South Korea's Kospi Composite closed 0.2% lower, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was last seen down 1.4%.

In the currency markets, the dollar gained against the euro Tuesday as risk appetite eroded with falling U.S. stocks ahead of the earnings season.

The dollar also found some favor after world leaders dismissed previous reports that a new world reserve currency to replace the dollar would be on the Group of Eight leading nations' meeting agenda. The gathering of heads of state begins Wednesday in L'Aquila, Italy.

The yen, which benefits from safe-haven flows as well, advanced against both the euro and dollar. The euro recently traded at $1.3872, and the dollar at 94.20 yen.

"A disappointing earnings season could push equities lower, and we expect further negative surprises to push the euro to test the downside of its recent $1.3750-$1.4350 summer range," said Ashley Davies at UBS.

Crude-oil futures have continued to weaken as doubts over the prospect of an economic revival continue to plague the market.

The August crude contract on Globex stood at $62.04 per barrel, down 89 cents, having settled Tuesday at $62.93 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

European government bond markets opened firmer, benefiting from a flight to quality as money leaves the equity markets. The September bund contract stood at 122.18, 0.43 higher.

Alpha Aims to Take 40% of Canadian Stock Trading, Schmitt Says

2:19 PM / Posted by E-pr0 / comments (2)

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- Alpha Trading Systems, an equity platform owned by Canada’s biggest banks, aims to have as much as 40 percent of the Canadian market for stock trading “in a couple of years,” Chief Executive Officer Jos Schmitt said.

Alpha has gained market share from TMX Group Inc.’s Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange since it started eight months ago. The firm captured 2.9 percent of equities trading in the first quarter, according to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Schmitt has forecast that his Toronto-based company would have a 20 percent share within the first year.

“We are developing a clear roadmap to further growing that towards what I think should be 30 to 40 percent,” Schmitt said in an interview today.

TMX Group’s share of Canadian stock trading slipped below 90 percent in May after Alpha and rivals including Pure Trading, Chi-X Canada and Omega ATS gained, according to Kevan Cowan, head of equities at Toronto-based TMX Group.

“The market is going to be spread between a number of venues and I don’t think anyone will be above 50 percent, and the largest ones will be probably be around 40 percent,” Schmitt said. “That is where we’d love to be in a couple of years.”

Alpha said yesterday it will offer free trades at the market open and will also remove a premium for odd-lot trades on TSX Venture Exchange, starting Aug. 1. The company will also cut fees by 29 percent for stocks trading under C$1 ($0.86) and boost rebates by 7 percent for putting shares worth at least C$1 onto Alpha.

“This was very focused on trading fees, where I think the costs are indeed getting out of control,” Schmitt, 46, said.

Alpha may drop fees further in the future, Schmitt said.

“When we clearly see that activity continues to grow and rise at Alpha, we will continue to look at ways to make the market more attractive,” he said.

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