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Japanese stock futures gained after U.S. consumer spending topped estimates and the earnings outlook improved, overcoming concerns about unrest in Egypt. Australian shares were little changed.
American depositary receipts of Hitachi Ltd., a maker of products from home appliances to nuclear reactors, jumped 1.5 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo yesterday after the Nikkei newspaper said the company may report a record third- quarter profit.
Those of Honda Motor Co., Japan’s third-largest carmaker by sales, jumped 2.8 percent after increasing its earnings forecast.
Shares of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company and Australia’s biggest oil producer, gained 0.6 percent in Sydney after prices of metals and oil advanced.
Shanghai stocks hit their longest winning streak for four months but the Mumbai market sank to its lowest level since August as investors gave varying responses to inflationary fears for Asia’s two powerhouse growth economies.
A reading of 52.9 for a purchasing managers’ index released by China’s logistics federation exceeded the 50 level dividing expansion and contraction. A PMI from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics rose to 54.5 from 54.4.
European stocks climbed by the most in two months after reports showed manufacturing expanded in the U.S. and China, boosting confidence in the strength of the global economic recovery.
BHP Billiton Ltd. led mining companies higher as copper surged to a record.
Rio Tinto Group, the third-largest mining company, gained 1.5 percent to 4,344 pence as copper rose to records in New York and London while aluminum and nickel climbed to two-year highs. Kazakhmys Plc, Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer, rose 4.8 percent to 1,578 pence.
National Bank of Greece jumped 7.7 percent to 7.60 euros, while EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA rose 11 percent to 4.74 euros. Public Power Corp. SA, Greece’s biggest electricity producer, gained 2.6 percent to 12.26 euros. Credit Suisse upgraded its stance on Greece to “benchmark” from “underweight,” saying “Greek equities look cheap.”
Infineon Technologies AG and ARM Holdings Plc increased after reporting results that exceeded estimates.
In Europe, manufacturing growth was stronger than initially estimated in January, accelerating to the fastest pace in nine months on stronger output in Germany. A gauge of manufacturing in the euro region rose to 57.3 from 57.1 in December, Markit Economics said today. That’s the highest since April and above the initially reported 56.9.
Metro AG, Germany’s largest retailer, climbed 3.3 percent to 53.12 euros as UBS AG upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral.”
Continental AG rallied 1.8 percent to 58.52 euros as Deutsche Bank AG lifted its recommendation on Europe’s second- biggest tiremaker to “buy” from “hold.”
U.S. stocks started February with a bang Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 closing above key psychological levels for the first time in more than two years, and the Nasdaq gaining almost 2%.
All but three of the 30 blue-chip components moved higher. A 5.5% jump in shares of Pfizer (PFE) led the advance. The drugmaker posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Alcoa (AA) and Bank of America (BAC) were also big Dow gainers.
U.S. stocks posted solid gains Monday and ended January about 2% higher, as positive earnings from Exxon Mobil (XOM) and rising commodity prices overshadowed the political unrest in Egypt. The Dow finished the month 2.7% higher, representing the first January gain since 2007, and the best first-month performance since 1997.
Economy: Construction spending dropped 2.5% in December, following a rise of 0.4% in November. Economists were expecting spending to ease 0.4% during the month.
General Motors (GM) kicked off the year with stronger-than-expected sales in January, driven by increased demand from individual customers. GM stock was slightly higher.
In Washington, the Senate Budget Committee kicked off three days of hearings on the economic outlook, tax reform and challenges to the economic recovery.
Companies: Before the opening bell, United Parcel Service (UPS) logged a 44% jump in profit that beat forecasts and said it expects earnings per share to climb to a record high for 2011. Shares of the package delivery company finished up 4.2%.
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