Tech IPOs soar in New York; Europe markets rise

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NEW YORK CITY: Shares of two technology companies jumped on Wall Street Thursday (Friday in Manila) following long-awaited public offerings, but US stocks overall failed to keep up the momentum from a rally in Europe.

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Mobile payments startup Square vaulted 45.2 percent in its first session after an initial public offering raised $243 million.

Match Group, which operates dating apps Tinder and OK Cupid, bolted 22.8 percent higher after an IPO raised $400 million.

But the positive charge from the Wall Street newbies was not enough to push the US market into the black. All three major US indices finished slightly lower, with the broad-based S&P 500 shedding 0.1 percent.

Earlier, European stocks had rebounded, taking their cue from Wednesday’s US session, when stocks gained on Federal Reserve meeting minutes that suggested a likely December interest rate increase due to rising confidence in the economy.

“Clearly the removal of the uncertainty around the US rate hike is seen as being far more preferable to investors than keeping them at record lows for a little longer,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda trading group.

“The economy is performing more than well enough to cope with a small rate increase from the current record low levels and it’s good to see that the market is moving on from the hysteria surrounding it. The path of rate hikes is far more important than the first,” Erlam added.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 closed up 1.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index in London added 0.8 percent and in Paris the CAC 40 won 0.2 percent.

The euro rose for a second day to above $1.07.

A December Federal Reserve interest rate hike is “virtually priced in” to the currency market, leaving the dollar “exhausted” after a big rally, said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

Health stocks stumble
US health care stocks were under pressure after UnitedHealth projected a $425 million hit to fourth-quarter earnings due to the deteriorating outlook for health exchange participation under President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Dow member UnitedHealth fell 5.7 percent. Other health insurers also dropped. Aetna lost 6.5 percent, Anthem 6.9 percent and Humana 4.0 percent.

Pharma companies Pfizer and Allergan lost 3.1 percent and 2.8 percent after the US Treasury announced plans to counter moves by companies to merge with non-US companies to lower their tax bills.

Pfizer is in advanced talks to buy Allergan for a price of as much as $150 billion to move its corporate domicile to Allergan’s low-tax home in Ireland.

Embattled pharma company Valeant jumped 15.7 percent following a favorable report from Citigroup. Valeant has been under fire over its drug pricing and accounting practices. Citigroup said the concerns on Valeant were “overdone,” Bloomberg reported.

Best Buy dropped 2.1 percent after reporting third-quarter net income of $125 million, up 16.8 percent from the year-ago period. RBC Capital said the electronics retailer’s cautious commentary about the holiday shopping season was concerning.

AFP

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