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23.02.2012 08:23

Stocks: Wednesday’s review


Asian stocks swung between gains and losses as concern that oil near a nine-month high will crimp economic growth was countered by a surge in Ltd. and gains by telecommunications companies.

Nikkei 225 9,554 +90.98 +0.96%

Hang Seng 21,549.28 +70.56 +0.33%

S&P/ASX 200 4,293.11 +1.91 +0.04%

Shanghai Composite 2,403.59 +22.16 +0.93%

Alibaba, China’s No. 1 e-commerce web portal, jumped 42 percent after its parent offered to privatize the company.

NTT DoCoMo Inc. , Japan’s largest mobile-phone operator by market value, climbed 2 percent after a report it expanded capacity to prevent service glitches.

Kumho Petro Chemical Co. , a Korean maker of synthetic rubber and chemicals, slid 4.3 percent as crude oil remained above $105 a barrel. Wilmar International Ltd. , the world’s No. 1 palm-oil processing company, dropped 11 percent after its earnings fell short of analyst forecasts.

European stocks retreated for a second day after a report showed services and manufacturing output in the euro area unexpectedly contracted in February.

European  services and manufacturing output unexpectedly shrank in February as the euro-area economy struggled to rebound from a contraction in the fourth quarter. A euro-area composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries dropped to 49.7 from 50.4 in January, London-based Markit Economics said in an initial estimate released by e-mail today.

A separate Purchasing Managers Index showed German services and manufacturing expansion unexpectedly slowed in February amid declining orders at factories in Europe’s largest economy.

Fitch Ratings cut Greece’s credit grade two levels to ‘C’ from ‘CCC’ after the country got approval to proceed with a bond exchange that will reduce its debt burden and avert the collapse of the economy.

Minutes of the U.K central bank’s February meeting showed seven of the nine members of the BOE’s Monetary Policy Committee, including Governor Mervyn King, voted to increase the bond-purchase target by 50 billion pounds ($78.6 billion) to 325 billion pounds. They argued that a larger increase “risked sending a signal that the committee thought the economic situation was weaker than it was,” the minutes showed.

FTSE 100 5,916.55 -11.65 -0.20%, CAC 40 3,447.37 -17.87 -0.52%, DAX 6,843.87 -64.31 -0.93%

TUI  retreated 7.6 percent to 5.99 euros. BNP Paribas (BNP) SA is managing the sale of 12.85 million TUI shares priced at 6.05 euros apiece, according to terms of the offer obtained by Bloomberg News.

Peugeot surged 12 percent to 16.13 euros, the most since April 2009. The company, which last week reported a slump in profit and an increase in debt, is in talks on a possible alliance with General Motors Co., French Labor Minister Xavier Bertrand said.

Cove Energy Plc rallied 26 percent to 194 pence, the highest since at least May 2005, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, offered to buy the U.K. explorer for 992.4 million pounds in cash.

Accor SA, Europe’s biggest hotel company, advanced 2.5 percent to 26.84 euros after full-year profit rose 19 percent. Earnings before interest and tax climbed to 530 million euros from 446 million euros a year earlier. That compared with the 523.7 million-euro average of 17 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey and Accor’s own forecast of 510 million euros to 530 million euros.

U.S. stocks fell, a day after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index failed to hold at an almost four- year high, as sales of previously owned houses missed estimates and data from Europe and China spurred economic concern.

Stocks fell as purchases of previously owned homes rose to a 4.57 million annual rate, less than forecast, data from National Association of Realtors showed. China’s manufacturing may shrink for a fourth month, according to data from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit. European services and manufacturing output unexpectedly contracted. Fitch Ratings lowered Greece’s credit rating and said a default is highly likely.

Dow 12,938.67 -27.02 -0.21%, Nasdaq 2,933.17 -15.40 -0.52%, S&P 500 1,357.66 -4.55 -0.33%

Dell tumbled 5.8 percent to $17.15. Sluggish sales have raised concerns about Dell’s comeback plan, which has relied on streamlining operations to boost earnings.

Toll Brothers declined 5.2 percent to $22.48. The largest U.S. luxury-home builder reported an unexpected first-quarter loss. KB Home decreased 4.2 percent to $11.26.

Financial shares dropped on speculation Europe’s rescue package for Greece won’t resolve the region’s debt crisis. Citigroup Inc. dropped 3 percent to $32.36. Regions Financial Corp. (RF) erased 3 percent to $5.80.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) fell the most in the Dow, slumping 2.5 percent to $58.60. The shares retreated 3.9 percent yesterday after the world’s largest retailer reported fourth-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates.

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