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Asian stocks rose as valuations rebound from near a two-year low ahead of a meeting by European finance ministers seeking a resolution to the debt crisis. Finance ministers from the 17-member monetary union meet in Brussels today to thrash out details on how the European Financial Stability Facility will boost its muscle by insuring sovereign debt with guarantees. Leaders are working toward a Dec. 9 summit meeting to regain investor confidence. In Europe, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are discussing an agreement under which member states will commit to tighter budget discipline without waiting for treaty changes. The newspaper didn’t say where it got the information.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 2.3 percent even as the nation’s jobless rate rose for the first time in three months. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index increased 1.1 percent, after falling as much as 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.2 percent.
Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest maker of automobiles, rose 3.6 percent in Seoul. Esprit Holdings Ltd., a clothier that gets most of its revenue from Europe, rose 4.6 percent in Hong Kong.
Nintendo Co., a maker of video-game players that gets 34 percent of its sales in Europe, advanced 2.3 percent in Osaka.
Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., a pharmaceuticals-products maker, jumped 9.3 percent after saying it plans to buy back some of its shares.
Daido Steel Co., a Japanese maker of steel products, jumped 8.3 percent to 497 yen in Tokyo after signing a joint venture with U.S.-based Molycorp Inc., a producer of rare-earth products.
European stocks advanced for a third day as euro-area finance ministers met to discuss insuring a portion of bonds issued by debt-stricken countries and U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in November.
Finance ministers from the 17-member monetary union met in Brussels to debate using their bailout fund, the European (SXXP) Financial Stability Facility, to insure sovereign debt with guarantees. Italian 10-year bonds fell, pushing yields for the benchmark securities toward euro-era records as the country sold 7.5 billion euros ($10 billion) of debt maturing in 2014, 2020 and 2022.
National benchmark indexes rose in 14 of the 18 western- European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed 0.5 percent, while Germany’s DAX Index advanced 1 percent.
BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, climbed 2.1 percent to 50.56 euros after the company raised its sales target for the end of this decade as Chief Executive Officer Kurt Bock laid out his strategy after seven months in charge.
K+S, Europe’s biggest potash supplier, increased 3 percent to 39.46 euros. The company will develop a Canadian mineral deposit that it acquired this year.
G4S Plc, the world’s largest security company, rose 3.2 percent to 246.8 pence after Alex Magni, an analyst at HSBC Holdings Plc upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “neutral.”
Remy Cointreau SA, the maker of Remy Martin cognac, climbed 2.9 percent to 61.90 euros after the company forecast (RCO) “a substantial increase” in full-year earnings. Remy Cointreau also posted first-half current operating profit that jumped 27 percent to 106.2 million euros, topping analysts’ estimates.
Oriflame Cosmetics SA, the Swedish maker of cosmetics, surged 7 percent to 207.70 kronor after Svenska Handelsbanken AB raised the company’s shares to “buy” from “accumulate.”
Colruyt plunged 8 percent to 27.22 euros after reporting a steeper-than-estimated drop in fiscal first-half profit as its expansion in France turned unprofitable because of price cuts and accelerated store openings. The company said its forecast (COLR) for full-year profit close to last year’s 338 million euros “remains a challenge.”
Transocean Ltd., the world’s largest offshore oil driller, slumped 8.7 percent to 39.20 Swiss francs after announcing it will sell shares to help refinance its acquisition of Aker Drilling ASA.
U.S. stocks fell after S&P cut credit ratings for banks including Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Earlier U.S. stocks rose as consumer confidence increased by the most since 2003 and European finance ministers discussed efforts to tame the debt crisis. Stocks extended gains today after a report showed that consumer confidence snapped back more than forecast in November as Americans turned less pessimistic on the outlook for jobs. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said the central bank has leeway to spur the U.S. recovery by purchasing more assets. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said in a separate speech that expanding securities purchases is unlikely to give a sufficient boost to U.S. growth.
Europe’s effort to expand its bailout fund is falling short, forcing euro-area finance ministers to consider greater roles for the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank to insulate Spain and Italy from the debt crisis. A plan hammered out last month to expand the European Financial Stability Facility’s firepower to 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) with leveraging will be “very difficult to reach,” Luxembourg Finance Minister Luc Frieden told reporters today.
Dow 11,555.63 +32.62 +0.28%, Nasdaq 2,515.51 -11.83 -0.47%, S&P 500 1,195.19 +2.64 +0.22%
Yahoo! Inc. jumped 2.3 percent to $15.70. Thomas H. Lee Partners joins a list of companies that are sizing up offers for Yahoo. Private-equity firm Silver Lake is working with Microsoft Corp. to bid for a minority stake in Yahoo, two other people familiar with the matter said. Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital firm, may join the Silver Lake-led group, another person said.
Hewlett-Packard added 1.4 percent to $26.90. The company was raised to “outperform” from “sector perform” at RBC Capital Markets. The 12-month share-price estimate is $32.
An index of technology shares in the S&P 500 lost 0.7 percent as Corning Inc. (GLW) sank 11 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $13.19. The world’s largest maker of glass for flat- panel televisions cut its fourth-quarter earnings forecast because of the loss of a contract and price declines for glass.
Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Corp. had their long-term credit rating downgraded to A- from A by S&P after the firm revised its criteria for the banking industry. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley were also cut. Some of the biggest financial companies retreated. Bank of America lost 3.2 percent, the most in the Dow, to $5.08. Morgan Stanley declined 3.6 percent to $13.31. JPMorgan Chase & Co. slid 2.1 percent to $28.56.
AMR Corp.tumbled 84 percent to 26 cents. With the filing, American became the last of the so-called U.S. legacy airlines to seek court protection from creditors. The company, which traces its roots to 1920s air-mail operations in the Midwest, listed $24.7 billion in assets and $29.6 billion in debt in Chapter 11 papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.
Rivals gained. United Continental Holdings Inc.surged 6.3 percent to $17.63 and Delta Air Lines Inc. rallied 5 percent to $7.80. The two largest U.S. carriers stand to benefit from AMR’s bankruptcy, analysts said.
Tiffany & Co. slid 8.7 percent to $67.22. The second- largest luxury jewelry retailer cited “weaknesses” in sales in Europe and the eastern U.S. as the holiday season began.
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