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Asian stocks fell, driving a regional benchmark gauge toward its lowest close in more than two years, as disagreement among policy makers over how to resolve Europe’s debt crisis dimmed the outlook for exporters and banks. Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average fell 1.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index slumped 3.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.6 percent after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 3.4 percent.
Nikkei 225 8,456 -89.36 -1.05%, Hang Seng 16,250 -571.88 -3.40%, S&P/ASX 200 3,872 -24.91 -0.64%, Shanghai Composite 2,359 -6.12 -0.26%
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 2.2 percent to 107.7 as of 5:31 p.m. in Mumbai, extending its biggest quarterly decline in almost three years. The measure closed at the lowest level since July 2009 as benchmark indexes worldwide have dropped more than 20 percent from their peaks, entering a so-called bear market. Asian stocks also fell after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its forecast for earnings expansion in Asia excluding Japan. About two stocks fell for each that rose in the MSCI Index and all 10 industry groups declined, led by energy shares.
Esprit Holdings Ltd. (330), a clothier that counts Europe as its biggest market, dropped 4.8 percent in Hong Kong. Samsung Electronics Co., which gets a fifth of its sales in Europe, lost 1.4 percent in Seoul. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306), Japan’s No. 1 listed lender by market value, sank 3.8 percent in Tokyo. Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s biggest commodities trader, slumped 5.7 percent as oil and metal prices tumbled.
FTSE 100 5,076 -52.98 -1.03%, CAC 40 2,927 -55.13 -1.85%, DAX 5,377 -125.32 -2.28%
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Rio Tinto Group, the world’s biggest mining companies, declined more than 1.5 percent as copper tumbled to a 14-month low in London. Commerzbank AG (CBK) and Societe Generale SA led losses in banking shares. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) sank to a one-year low.
According to the results of today's trading: Dow 10,653.64 -259.74 -2.38%, Nasdaq 2,335.83 -79.57 -3.29%, S&P 500 1,099.23 -32.19 -2.85%
The S&P 500 lost 2.9 percent to 1,099.23 at 4 p.m. New York time, its lowest close since Sept. 8, 2010. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 258.08 points, or 2.4 percent, to 10,655.30, also the lowest level in more than a year. Financial shares had the biggest drop in the S&P 500 as Bank of America fell 9.6 percent to the lowest level since March 2009. Citigroup Inc. (C) slumped 9.8 percent to $23.11. The bank may be penalized by regulators in Japan for the third time since 2004 after its Japanese retail banking unit possibly breached rules by failing to fully explain product risk to customers, two people familiar with the situation said. Alcoa Inc. (AA) fell 7 percent amid concern about slower demand for commodities. American Airlines parent AMR Corp. (AMR) slid 33 percent on concern the U.S. is nearing a return to recession and that the carrier may be forced to seek bankruptcy protection.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 2.2 percent to 1,123.81 at 4 p.m. New York time, according to preliminary closing data. The index plunged as much as 2.2 percent earlier, to a level that would mark more than a 20 percent drop from an April peak, the threshold of a bear market.
The S&P 500 rose earlier after Fed Chairman Bernanke said the central bank “will continue to closely monitor economic developments and is prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability. Bernanke made his remarks today in testimony to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee in Washington.
Dow 10,808.71 +153.41 +1.44%, Nasdaq 2,405 +68.99 +2.95%, S&P 500 1,123.95 +24.72 +2.25%
Financial stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index jumped 4.1 percent, reversing a 2.9 percent drop. Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. added at least 4.1 percent. DuPont Co. and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) rallied more than 3.6 percent, pacing in companies most-tied to economic growth. AMR Corp. (AMR) surged 21 percent as analysts said the parent of American Airlines is unlikely to file for bankruptcy.
Apple Inc. dropped 3.6 percent to $361.23. The company, in its first product unveiling since Steve Jobs resigned as chief executive officer, introduced an iPhone with a stronger processor to help it vie with Google Inc.’s Android. The update of Apple’s best-selling product marks an early test for Tim Cook, CEO since Aug. 24, who hasn’t yet shown he can match his predecessor’s skills at product design and marketing.
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