Tuesday, 23 June 2009

German business confidence rises but US corporate insiders cash out

German business confidence rose in June. Bloomberg reports:

German business confidence rose for a third month in June, providing further evidence that the recession in Europe’s largest economy is easing.

The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, increased to 85.9 from 84.3 in May. Economists expected a gain to 85, the median of 34 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey showed. The index reached a 26-year low of 82.2 in March.

However, executives at US companies appear to be losing confidence in the prospective performance of their shares.

Insiders of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies were net sellers for 14 straight weeks as the gauge rose 36 percent, data compiled by InsiderScore.com show. Amgen Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sharer and five other officials sold $8.2 million of stock. Christopher Donahue, the CEO of Federated Investors Inc., and his brother, Chief Financial Officer Thomas Donahue, offered the most in three years.

Sales by CEOs, directors and senior officers have accelerated to the highest level since June 2007, two months before credit markets froze, as the S&P 500 rebounded from its 12-year low in March. The increase is making investors more skittish because executives presumably have the best information about their companies’ prospects.

Indeed, markets showed some nervousness on Monday.

U.S. and European stocks tumbled, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down the most in two months, as the World Bank said the recession will be deeper than previously forecast. Treasuries rose, while oil fell below $67 a barrel and metals slumped...

The S&P 500 slid 3.1 percent to 893.04 at 4:05 p.m. in New York following last week’s 2.6 percent slump. The Dow average sank 200.72 points, or 2.4 percent, to 8,339.01. Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 fell 2.8 percent and the MSCI World Index decreased 2.7 percent. Almost 14 stocks fell for each rising on the New York Stock Exchange, the broadest sell-off since May 13.

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