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15.12.2011 08:20

Stocks: Wednesday’s review

Asian stocks fell for a second day as the Federal Reserve refrained from taking new measures to spur growth and U.S. retail sales rose at the slowest pace in five months, clouding the earnings outlook for Asian exporters.

The Fed said yesterday that the U.S. economy continues to expand even as global growth slows. The Fed reiterated a warning from its two previous meetings that “strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.”

Li & Fung Ltd., a supplier of toys and clothes to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., sank 3.9%.

Astra, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Indonesian distributor, lost 3.9% as nationwide auto sales dropped.

Sony Corp. , which depends on the U.S. for a fifth of its sales, fell 1.5%.

European stocks declined  as the Federal Reserve refrained from taking new action to bolster the world’s largest economy.

Italy sold five-year bonds at an average yield of 6.47 percent, up from 6.29 percent at the last auction on Nov. 14, the Bank of Italy said. Spain will offer debt maturing in 2016, 2020 and 2021 tomorrow.

A report from Eurostat showed that industrial production in the euro area slipped 0.1 percent in October, led by a drop in the output of energy and goods such as steel. Economists had forecast no change, according to a survey.

The Munich-based Ifo institute slashed its 2012 economic growth forecast for Germany to 0.4 percent from a previous prediction of 2.3 percent. Ifo said Europe’s largest economy can avoid a recession unless the region’s debt crisis worsens.

BNP Paribas and Societe Generale SA dropped 7.4% and 8% respectively, as Citigroup Inc. analyst Ronit Ghose said European lenders may drop another 30 percent as the euro area has only begun to deleverage.

Rio Tinto Group and Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. paced a selloff in mining companies, both falling more than 4.5%.

Logica Plc tumbled 16% percent after computer services provider cut its forecast for sales growth this year.

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the biggest maker of luxury cars, and Volkswagen AG  fell at least 4.5%.

U.S. stocks fell as growing funding stress in Europe fueled concern the region is struggling to contain its sovereign debt crisis.

U.S. stocks joined a global slump as the cost of insuring against default on European sovereign debt approached a record.

Italy had to pay the most in 14 years to sell five-year bonds. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there’s no easy solution to the euro-region crisis.

Equities briefly pared losses  as the Wall Street Journal reported that S&P has not informed France about an imminent downgrade, citing a French official.

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