Stocks: Monday's review
Japanese stocks rose, sending the Nikkei 225 Stock Average to its longest winning streak in more than a year, as unrest in the Middle East boosted the price of oil and Bridgestone Corp. jumped following a brokerage upgrade.
Inpex Corp., Japan’s biggest oil explorer, increased 1.7 percent. Bridgestone, the world’s largest tiremaker, jumped 5.8 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its rating to “buy.” Softbank Corp., Japan’s third-largest mobile-phone operator, climbed 5.6 percent on affiliate Renren.com’s plan for a $500 million U.S. initial public offering this year.
Makers of tires and other rubber products gained the most among the Topix’s 33 industry groups. Bridgestone jumped 5.8 percent to 1,760 yen, the biggest gain on the Nikkei. Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Japan’s second-largest tiremaker, increased 2.4 percent to 929 yen after Goldman Sachs boosted its target price on the shares to 1,150 yen from 1,100 yen.
European stocks declined as investors speculated that the unrest in Libya will cause energy prices to climb, fueling inflation and curbing economic growth.
Eni SpA and OMV AG lost at least 4 percent amid speculation that the Libyan revolts will hinder the companies’ operations in the North African country. Merck KGaA advanced 4.5 percent as fourth-quarter earnings beat estimates. Alpha Bank SA soared 8.4 percent after the lender rejected an offer from National Bank of Greece SA.
German business confidence unexpectedly rose to a record high in February as booming exports spurred hiring and consumer spending. The Munich-based Ifo institute said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, increased to 111.2 this month from 110.3 in January. That’s the highest since records for a reunified Germany began in 1991.