Japanese stocks fell, sending both benchmark gauges to their lowest levels this year, as political demonstrations in Egypt continued for a sixth day, and a stronger yen damped the outlook for export earnings.
Chiyoda Corp., a plant engineering company that gets almost half of its revenue from the Middle East, fell 2.5 percent. Sony Corp., an electronics maker that earns about 40 percent of its revenue from the U.S. and Europe, sank 2.7 percent. Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest automaker by sales, slid 2.2 percent after saying it closed its factory in Egypt until Feb. 3. Konica Minolta Holdings Inc., a maker of imaging equipment, plunged 7.8 percent after the company cut its operating profit outlook.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 1.2 percent to 10,237.92 as of the close in Tokyo. The broader Topix lost 1 percent to 910.08, with almost four times as many shares declining as advancing. Both gauges declined to their lowest levels since Dec. 30. For the month, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent, while the Topix gained 1.3 percent. Both benchmarks had the first January advance in four years.
The Topix has gained 1.3 percent this year and stocks in the index were valued at 15.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.3 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.1 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Most European stocks dropped, extending two weeks of losses, as anti-government protests rocked Egypt for a seventh day, causing airline and travel company shares to fall.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG and International Consolidated Airlines Group SA both retreated more than 1 percent. Greene King Plc rallied 5.3 percent as the maker and retailer of beer bought Cloverleaf Restaurants to support its focus on food.
The Stoxx 600 slipped 0.1 percent to 280.05 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, as two stocks fell for every stock that climbed. Even so, the gauge hsa gained 1.5 percent this month. Stocks fell earlier today after tens of thousands of protesters defied a curfew in Cairo and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met yesterday with military commanders.
National benchmark indexes fell in 11 of the 18 western European equity markets today. Germany’s DAX Index declined 0.4 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index lost 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 Index added 0.1 percent.
U.S. stocks rose, extending the second straight monthly gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as businesses expanded at the fastest pace since 1988 and consumer spending and Exxon Mobil Corp.’s profit beat estimates.
An index of energy shares in the S&P 500 rallied 2.3 percent, led by Exxon, the world’s largest company by market value, as Brent crude exceeded $100 a barrel for the first time since 2008. Massey Energy Co. jumped 9.7 percent after Alpha Natural Resources Inc. agreed to buy the coal producer for $7.1 billion. Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, slumped 1.5 percent after saying a design error will cut sales and margins. Rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. rose 4.4 percent.
The S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent to 1,285.16 at 2 p.m. in New York, after sliding 1.8 percent on Jan. 28 amid protests demanding the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The index is up 2.1 percent in January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 45.68 points, or 0.4 percent, to 11,869.38.