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Asian stocks fell as the political impasse in Greece added to speculation the nation will leave the euro union and Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Italian banks ahead of a report that may show Europe’s economy shrank.
Nikkei 225 8,900.74 -73.10 -0.81%
S&P/ASX 200 4,266.3 -30.69 -0.71%
Shanghai Composite 2,361.17 -19.56 -0.82%
Nippon Sheet Glass Co., a glassmaker that counts Europe as its No. 1 market, slumped 1 percent in Tokyo after saying it may continue to suspend some production in Europe this year on slumping demand.
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, declined 2.2 percent in Sydney after metal prices fell.
China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd., the mainland’s biggest developer by market value, fell 1 percent in Hong Kong after a report Shanghai tightened home-purchase restrictions.
European stocks dropped for a second day, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to its lowest level since December, as Greece called a new election after the country’s politicians failed to form a government.
Greece will hold its new vote as early as next month as polls showed that the anti-austerity Syriza group could win the ballot. The failure to form a government committed to austerity has reignited concern that the country will leave the euro area.
Gross domestic product in the 17-nation euro area stagnated in the first quarter compared with the final three months of 2011, according to the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg. The median forecast of economists had called for a 0.2 percent contraction. Germany’s economy expanded 0.5 percent, compared with the 0.1 percent median estimate of economists in a separate survey.
National benchmark indexes fell in every western-European market except Norway and Ireland. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 0.5 percent and France’s CAC 40 lost 0.6 percent. Germany’s DAX retreated 0.8 percent. Greece’s ASE Index plunged 3.6 percent to its lowest level since November 1992.
UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, the biggest Italian lenders, declined 5.5 percent to 2.53 euros and 5.5 percent to 97.65 euro cents, respectively, after Moody’s Investors Service cut the credit ratings of 26 of the nation’s lenders, citing weakened earnings and the domestic economic outlook.
Vivendi SA added 2 percent after reporting profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates. First-quarter net income, excluding one-off gains or losses and some costs, fell 13 percent to 823 million euros. That beat the 765 million-euro average of analyst estimates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to an almost four-month low as Greece’s failure to form a new government offset better-than-estimated American economic data.
Stocks fell for a third day and the euro tumbled to a four- month low amid concern Greece will leave the shared currency. The European country will hold new elections after President Karolos Papoulias failed to broker a governing coalition following an inconclusive May 6 vote. The impasse offset American reports showing that manufacturing in the New York region and homebuilder confidence grew more than forecast.
Avon tumbled 11 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $18.71. Coty, the maker of perfumes by Beyonce Knowles and Heidi Klum, said attempts to speak to Avon board members, including Chairman Andrea Jung and Chief Executive Officer Sheri McCoy, failed after it received a two-sentence e-mail requesting a deadline extension. Coty had given yesterday as a cutoff date for a response when it made its $24.75-a-share bid last week.
Home Depot (HD) retreated 2.4 percent to $48.67 after forecasting sales this year will slow from the first quarter because warm weather pulled forward purchases of plants and gardening equipment.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) rebounded from the biggest two-day drop since 2009, climbing 1.3 percent to $36.24. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, responding to shareholders at the annual meeting after disclosing a $2 billion trading loss last week, said he sees no reason the bank’s dividend would be affected.
Groupon Inc. rose 3.7 percent to $12.17, after soaring as much as 27 percent earlier. The largest daily-deal website reported first-quarter profit that topped estimates, helped by lower marketing costs and expanded international sales.
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