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19.01.2012 08:01

Stocks: Wednesday’s review

Asian stocks rose, with a regional benchmark index set for the highest close in six weeks, as economic reports in the U.S. and Germany beat estimates and oil prices gained.

Fanuc Corp. (6954), a Japanese maker of factory automation systems that gets 75 percent of its sales abroad, rose 4.2 percent.

Inpex Corp. (1605), Japan’s biggest energy explorer, advanced 1.8 percent.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s No. 1 oil and gas producer, gained 0.8 percent after reporting plans to boost exploration spending.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. surged 7.8 percent after the utility said it will raise power prices.

Most European stocks rose as the International Monetary Fund said it plans to raise as much as $500 billion to expand its lending resources and Greece neared a debt deal with its private creditors.

The IMF aims to increase its resources to safeguard the global economy after identifying a potential need for $1 trillion in financing in coming years, an IMF spokesman said in a statement. The IMF will not comment further until it has consulted its members, the fund said.

Greece is close to a deal with private creditors that would give them cash and securities with a market value of about 32 cents per euro of government debt, according to Bruce Richards, who is on the creditors’ committee and chief executive officer for Marathon Asset Management LP.

The World Bank cut its global growth forecast by the most in three years today, saying that a recession in the euro region threatens to exacerbate a slowdown in emerging markets such as India and Mexico.

The world economy will grow 2.5 percent this year, down from a June estimate of 3.6 percent, the Washington-based institution said. The euro area may contract 0.3 percent, compared with a previous estimate of a 1.8 percent gain. The World Bank cut its outlook for U.S. growth to 2.2 percent from 2.9 percent.

The German government trimmed its forecast for 2012 growth in Europe’s biggest economy to 0.7 percent from a previous 1 percent estimate.

Germany sold two-year notes at a record-low yield today after euro-area ratings downgrades by Standard & Poor’s on Jan. 13. Portugal auctioned its targeted amount of 2.5 billion euros ($3.2 billion) of securities at a sale of three-, six- and 11- month treasury bills.

Accor SA advanced 4.3 percent to 21.97 euros. The French hotelier, which generated 73 percent of its sales from Europe in 2010, said revenue rose 2.5 percent in 2011 and reiterated its forecast for full-year earnings before interest and taxes.

Man Group Plc jumped 6.8 percent to 114.4 pence. The world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund said it will reduce pay and eliminate jobs in a plan to reduce costs by about 10 percent as market turmoil prompted clients to withdraw money.

Commerzbank fell 1.7 percent to 1.41 euros as Moody’s cut Commerzbank’s financial-strength rating to D+ from C-. The rating represents Moody’s opinion of a lender’s intrinsic safety and soundness and doesn’t address the probability of timely repayment of debt, according to the company’s definitions.

Tullow Oil Plc declined 4.2 percent to 1,394 pence, its biggest retreat since Nov. 9. The London-based oil explorer with the highest number of licenses in Africa dropped after delaying full production from its Jubilee field in Ghana by at least a year.

U.S. stocks rose, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its best start to a year since 1987, after confidence among homebuilders topped forecasts, Goldman Sachs (GS) Group Inc. rallied and concern about Europe eased.

Stocks climbed today as confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose in January to the highest level since 2007. Equities extended gains as an official told reporters that Greece’s government could forge an agreement with private creditors by the end of this week after talks resumed in Athens today. The International Monetary Fund is proposing to raise its lending capacity by as much as $500 billion to safeguard the economy.

Goldman Sachs climbed 6.8 percent as earnings beat estimates amid lower compensation costs. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan (JPM) Chase & Co. jumped at least 4.6 percent, leading the gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

PulteGroup Inc. and Lennar Corp. added more than 4.3 percent, pacing an advance in homebuilders.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. fell 4.6 percent to $20.30. The world’s biggest custody bank said fourth-quarter earnings declined 26 percent on a restructuring charge and lower revenue from businesses tied to financial markets.

Linear Technology Corp. jumped 12 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $33.32. The maker of semiconductors for industrial equipment and cars forecast fiscal third-quarter sales that would beat analysts’ estimates.

Yahoo! Inc. gained 3.2 percent to $15.92 as Jerry Yang’s exit may remove a barrier to find a buyer or negotiate a sale of stakes in Asian assets valued at more than $10 billion.

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