Roundup: S&P -1.15%. Dow -0.93%. Nasdaq -1.51%. Gold -0.12% at 1,674.40. London -1.58%. Germany -2.49%. France -3.01%. Italy -4.4%, and Spain -3.7%. Nikkei is currently at -1.4%.
Europe is back playing spoilsport to the rally in equity markets. In Italy, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has upset the political landscape just three weeks before elections, surging back into contention with vows to rip up “German-imposed” austerity policies and cancel a hated property tax. And Spain’s Prime Minister faced calls to resign amid allegations that have embroiled senior members of the ruling conservative party in a wide-reaching corruption scandal.
US December Factory orders came in at +1.8% vs. consensus of +2.4%.
Meanwhile, back home in India, the MNCs are increasingly under the tax scanner. After Vodafone, Wal-Mart and Nokia, it is now Royal Dutch Shell’s turn. The tax department has sent Shell a notice that claims it underpriced a sale of shares to an overseas group company by $2.7 billion. (WSJ)
Foreign investors lapped up as much 60% of the 6 crore shares in Oil India, pumping in about Rs 1,800 crore to buy equity in India’s second biggest explorer. (ET) [stockquote]OIL[/stockquote]
HSBC: Investors should be brave at this point of time as there is very less risk of the global economy falling back into recession. The risk-reward ratio is in favour of equities. Besides, Indian market valuations are looking very cheap compared to other regional markets. Given the kind of corporate profitability, Indian companies are trading at attractive valuations. (ET)
Europe gets the securities transaction tax, aka, the Tobin tax. The plans are expected to be published within weeks and to be signed off by mid-March. (FT)