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Japanese shares climbed on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to do more to stimulate U.S. growth if needed.
Gains were limited after ruling party powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa was found not guilty of violating campaign finance laws, raising concern gridlock may make it difficult to pass new consumption taxes.
Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets almost 45% of its sales in North America, added 0.9%.
Fujitsu General Ltd. soared 11% after the air-conditioner company beat earnings estimates. Fanuc Corp. sank 6.1% after the factory-robotics manufacturer forecast lower operating profit.
The Topix Index rose 0.1% to 810.10, with about three shares advancing for every two that declined. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average was little changed at 9,561.83 after swinging between gains of 0.7% and losses of 0.3%. Volume on the gauge was more than a fifth below the 30-day average before a Bank of Japan meeting tomorrow when additional monetary easing is expected to be announced.
European stocks closed session mixed after a rally in automakers helped offset a drop in euro-area confidence.
On result of yesterday's session:
FTSE 5,748.72 +29.83 +0.52%
CAC 3,229.32 -4.14 -0.13%
DAX 6,739.9 +35.40 +0.53%
An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 17- nation euro area fell to 92.8 this month from a revised 94.5 in March, the European Commission said today. Economists had forecast a drop to 94.2 from a previously reported 94.4.
Shares of Deutsche Bank declined 3.2% after Germany’s biggest lender said first-quarter profit fell 33 percent to 1.38 billion euros as a rebound in investment-banking earnings from the previous three months wasn’t enough to match year-earlier levels.
Bank shares dropped: Unicredit SpA fell 3.1%, Banco Santander SA lost 3.8%, Societe Generale SA declined 3.6%.
Shares of Volkswagen jumped 8.6% after the world’s second-largest carmaker reported a 10 percent jump in first-quarter operating profit to 3.21 billion euros. After Volkswagen’ report Porsche increased 7.3%, Daimler AG increased 3.4% and Volvo AB advanced 2.7%.
U.S. stocks rose on better-than-estimated home data.
Equities rose as data showed that signed contracts to buy U.S. homes increased more than forecast in March. The Federal Reserve yesterday upgraded its estimates for growth and unemployment this year. Policy makers are holding off on additional steps to boost the economy amid signs that the more than two-year expansion is gaining strength. Yet earlier today, data signaled a cooling labor market as more Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits.Chevron (CVX) rose 2.28% to $106.22. The second-largest U.S. energy company boosted its quarterly dividend to 90 cents a share from 81 cents.
Exxon (XOM) declined 0.90% to $86.07 after saying net income fell 11%.
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