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18.04.2012 07:26

Stocks: Tuesday’s review

Asian stocks fell for a second day as foreign direct investment into China dropped for a fifth month, and Spanish borrowing costs climbed to the highest level this year ahead of a debt auction by the nation today.

China Construction Bank Corp. retreated 2.6 percent in Hong Kong even as investment slipped at about half the rate forecast by economists.

Nikkei 225 9,464.71 -5.93 -0.06%

Hang Seng 20,554.15 -56.49 -0.27%

S&P/ASX 200 4,288.79 -13.55 -0.31%

Shanghai Composite 2,334.98 -22.04 -0.94%

Esprit Holdings Ltd., which depends on Europe for about 80 percent of its sales, retreated 3.6 percent as Spain prepares to sell bonds later today. Apple Inc. suppliers fell amid concern demand for the company’s products will slow.

Gree Inc., a Japanese social-network game operator, rose 9.1 percent in Tokyo after Bank of America Merrill Lynch said its domestic revenue growth is accelerating.

European stocks gained the most since November as demand increased at a Spanish debt sale, German investor confidence topped forecasts and the International Monetary Fund boosted its global growth outlook.

Spain sold 3.18 billion euros of bills today, compared with a maximum target of 3 billion euros the Treasury set for the sale. The average 12-month yield was 2.623 percent, compared with 1.418 percent at the last auction on March 20, the Bank of Spain said. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research’s index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, climbed to 23.4 from 22.3 in March.

The world economy will expand 3.5 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2013, the Washington-based IMF said today in its World Economic Outlook, raising forecasts made in January from 3.3 percent for 2012 and 4 percent for next year.

National benchmark indexes advanced in all of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index climbed 2.6 percent, while Germany’s DAX rose 2.5 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 (UKX) added 1.8 percent.

A gauge of bank shares gained 4 percent today as Banco Popolare, Italy’s fifth-largest lender, increased 8.9 percent to 1.15 euros. Barclays, the U.K.’s second-biggest bank by assets, increased 4.9 percent to 221.2 pence. BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, rallied 6.7 percent to 30.94 euros and Societe Generale SA, the country’s second-biggest lender, rose 8.2 percent to 18.52 euros.

Greek banks jumped amid optimism the government is close to completing its plans to restructure the country’s banks. EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA surged 7.3 percent to 71.9 euro cents and National Bank of Greece SA climbed 1.1 percent to 1.88 euros.

Danone advanced 2.8 percent to 53 euros after reporting higher first-quarter sales, led by bottled water and baby food. Revenue rose to 5.12 billion euros from 4.76 billion euros a year earlier, the company said. That beat the 5.05 billion-euro average estimate of 11 analysts.

Marks & Spencer Group Plc slid 2.5 percent to 358.5 pence. The U.K.’s largest clothing retailer said sales of general merchandise at U.K. stores open at least a year fell 2.8 percent in the 13 weeks ended March 31. The average estimate of 10 analysts was for an unchanged performance.

U.S. stocks rose, giving benchmark indexes their biggest rallies in a month, as higher forecasts from the International Monetary Fund and gains in Spanish bonds overshadowed declines in housing starts and factory production.

Stocks rallied as the IMF raised its 2012 global growth estimate to 3.5 percent, German investor confidence rose and Spanish bonds gained. Expectations that Europe’s crisis is stabilizing overshadowed data showing that production at U.S. factories dropped in March for the first time in four months and builders broke ground on fewer houses than forecast.

Dow   13,115.54     +194.13       +1.50%, Nasdaq      3,042.82       +54.42 +1.82%, S&P 500   1,390.78       +21.21 +1.55%

Coca-Cola (КО) gained 2.1 percent to $73.95. Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent has introduced smaller package sizes to attract price-conscious consumers as part of an effort to spur sales in North America.

First Solar Inc. surged 10 percent to $22.96. The largest thin-film panel maker will cut 30 percent of its workforce, about 2,000 jobs, as demand in Europe slows faster than the company can expand in emerging markets in Asia.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fell 0.7 percent to $116.86. The fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets reported a 23 percent decline in first-quarter profit. Revenue from trading bonds, currencies and commodities lagged behind JPMorgan Chase & Co. The company also boosted its dividend 31 percent.

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