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Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest decline in six months, after U.S. employers added fewer jobs than forecast and amid concern Europe’s debt crisis may worsen after Socialist Francois Hollande was elected president of France.
Nikkei 225 9,119.14 -261.11 -2.78%
Hang Seng 20,512.09 -573.91 -2.72%
S&P/ASX 200 4,301.3 -94.74 -2.16%
Shanghai Composite 2,451.95 -0.07 0.00%
Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s No. 1 maker of mobile phones by sales, dropped 2.4 percent in Seoul.
Sony Corp. sank 4 percent, leading losses among Japanese exporters on concern a weaker euro will damp the repatriated value of sales from Europe.
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company and Australia’s biggest oil producer, lost 3.7 percent as crude oil and copper futures fell.
European stocks rose the most in more than a week as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will receive French president-elect Francois Hollande with “open arms” as they work together to tackle the debt crisis.
Hollande defeated French President Nicolas Sarkozy to become the first Socialist in 17 years to control Europe’s second-biggest economy. He pledged to push for less austerity and more growth in the region.
Greece’s political leaders struggled to find the support needed to form a coalition government after voters flocked to anti-bailout parties, calling into question the country’s ability to impose the measures needed to guarantee its future in the euro.
German factory orders rose more than forecast in March as demand from outside the euro area helped Europe’s largest economy weather the debt crisis. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, jumped 2.2 percent from February, when they gained a revised 0.6 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said.
National benchmark indexes rose in 12 of the 16 western European markets open today. Spain’s IBEX 35 jumped 2.7 percent and Italy’s FTSE MIB rallied 2.6 percent. Germany’s DAX added 0.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 increased 1.7 percent, while Greece’s ASE plunged 6.7 percent.
U.K. and Irish markets were closed for a holiday.
BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, the biggest French lenders, gained 4.2 percent to 30.21 euros and 4 percent 17.99 euros, respectively, erasing earlier losses. The spread between German 10-year government bond yields and French yields on similar-maturity debt narrowed.
UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo rose 5.6 percent to 2.85 euros and 3.9 percent to 1.09 euros, respectively, as UBS kept its positive view of the lenders among Italian banks.
Banco Santander SA, Spain’s biggest lender, rallied 4.7 percent to 4.90 euros. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA advanced 5.4 percent to 5.29 euros.
Lafarge SA, the world’s biggest cement maker, increased 4 percent to 30.50 euros. Analysts at Citigroup Inc., Helvea AG and Equita SIM SpA upgraded the shares.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced, halting a three-day decline, as bank shares rallied after Warren Buffett said American lenders are in “fine shape” and investors weighed elections in France and Greece.
Stocks swung between gains and losses after Francois Hollande’s election as France’s president and as Greek voters flocked to anti-bailout parties. Hollande, who defeated Nicolas Sarkozy, pledged to push for less austerity. European stocks rebounded as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will receive Hollande with “open arms” as they work together to tackle the debt crisis.
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) added 2.8 percent, the most in the Dow average, to $7.96. Wells Fargo & Co. gained 1.4 percent to $33.50.
AIG lost 3 percent to $31.84. The Treasury is selling 163.9 million shares at $30.50 each, compared with the May 4 closing price of $32.83, the department said yesterday. The transaction reduces the Treasury’s stake in the insurer to 63 percent from 70 percent.
Walt Disney (DIS) rose 2.1 percent to $43.82. “The Avengers” surpassed the previous-best opening weekend of $169.2 million in the U.S. and Canada, set last year by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in a statement.
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