Emerging powers pledge billions to bolster IMF
MAJOR emerging powers stood ready on Friday to pledge money to bolster the International Monetary Fund's crisis-fighting war chest, though Brazil was holding out for promises that their voting power at the global lender would increase.
|Qatar boosts stake in Xstrata to 6.3% |
|QATAR'S sovereign wealth fund has increased its stake in Xstrata to nearly 6.3 percent from 5 percent just 10 days ago and is now the second-largest holder in the miner ahead of its proposed $48.4-billion merger of equals with Glencore International.
The QIA's latest build-up makes any attempt to block the deal more difficult. Many Xstrata shareholders are pushing for a better deal than the one on the table, in which Glencore will give 2.8 shares for each of Xstrata's shares.
The transaction would give the combined company a market capitalisation of around $90 billion at the time the deal was announced.
Qatar started building its stake in Xstrata as Glencore made its move at the beginning of February. Having bought an initial 3.08 percent stake, the sovereign wealth fund continued to add to its shareholding and registered its last dealing on April 19 to bring its total stake to 6.296 percent, or 189,050,381 shares.
QIA's latest build puts it ahead of BlackRock, which has a 5.43 percent stake, and second only to Glencore, which has a 33.65 percent stake. It is also some way ahead of other major holders such as Schroders, Standard Life Investments and Royal London Asset Management.
|General Electric profit, revenue top Wall Street forecast for Q1 |
|GENERAL Electric topped Wall Street's profit and revenue forecasts for the first quarter, helped by strong demand for energy equipment and railroad locomotives.
The largest US conglomerate said industrial orders had risen 20 percent in the quarter and that selling prices had improved in most of businesses.
This should help Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt achieve his goal of boosting profit margins by a 0.5 percentage point this year.
"We witnessed broadbased strength in orders across all our infrastructure businesses and in both equipment and services," Immelt said in a statement.
GE shares rose 0.9 percent to $19.31 in pre-market trading.
Investors noted that the company had notched solid organic growth — a measure that factors out the influence of acquisitions or fluctuations in exchange rates.
"Organic revenue growth in the industrial business was great at 11 percent," said Jack De Gan, chief investment officer of Harbor Advisory, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, firm that owns GE shares. "GE has been a disappointment for a long time and is now finally going to get back to where its earnings can compound at a rate better than the S&P for a while," said.
|German business confidence at nine-month high in April |
|BERLIN GERMAN business confidence hit a nine-month high in April amid optimism about the growth outlook for Europe's biggest economy, a key survey released on Friday showed.
The Munich-based Ifo institute said its closely watched survey edged up for the sixth consecutive month to 109.9 points in April, from 109.8 points in March. The increase came despite the ongoing economic and financial tensions unleashed by the debt crisis.
But, releasing the survey, Ifo president Hans-Werner Sinn said: "The German economy shows itself resilient." Analysts had expected the indicator, which is based on a survey of about 7,000 business leaders, would slip to 109.5 points this month.
Helping to drive the increase in the Ifo index was a marginal gain in the indicator's current assessment component, which inched up to 117.5 points in April from 117.4 points in March. The gauge measuring business expectations was unchanged at 102.7 points.
The Ifo's release followed the publication earlier this week of a key survey of investors in the country, which also posted an unexpected increase for this month's figures, hitting a near-two-year high of 23.4 points. The increase in the Mannheim-based ZEW Center for European Economic Research's investor confidence index represented the indicator's fifth consecutive monthly gain.