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31.05.2012 08:23

Stocks: Wednesday’s review


Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index headed for its biggest monthly drop since the 2008 financial crisis, as China damped optimism for large-scale stimulus, adding to global growth concerns after Spain’s credit rating was downgraded.

Nikkei 225 8,633.19 -23.89 -0.28%

S&P/ASX 200 4,094.2 -20.21 -0.49%

Shanghai Composite 2,381.26 -8.37 -0.35%

Samsung Electronics Co., an exporter of consumer electronics that gets 47 percent of its sales in Europe and China, lost 1 percent in Seoul.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. slid 2.1 percent.

Renesas Electronics Corp., the world’s biggest maker of microcontrollers for cars, surged 27 percent in Tokyo after short-selling of its shares was restricted.

European stocks dropped the most in a week as Italy failed to meet its maximum target at a debt sale, Spain struggled to bolster its banking system and a Greek poll showed increased support for parties opposed to spending cuts.

Italian bonds fell for a fourth day, the longest stretch of losses in more than a month. The nation’s borrowing costs rose at an auction today as it sold 5.73 billion euros ($7.1 billion) of five-year and 10-year securities, short of its maximum target of 6.25 billion euros.

In Greece, a VPRC opinion poll for Epikaira magazine showed that anti-austerity group Syriza had the support of 30 percent of voters, compared with 26.5 percent for New Democracy, which backs the terms of a European Union bailout. Greece holds new elections on June 17.

National benchmark indexes slipped all the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.7 percent and Germany’s DAX fell 1.8 percent, while France’s CAC 40 (CAC) slid 2.2 percent. Greece’s ASE Index slumped 3.2 percent.

BASF dropped 2 percent to 56.79 euros after Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cited Deputy Chief Executive Officer Martin Brudermueller as saying the company isn’t seeing the kind of dynamism it expected in Asia. BASF is considering taking a partner in India, where a backlog of policy changes is holding back growth, the official said.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto declined 2.5 percent to 1,707.5 pence and 4.1 percent to 2,801 pence, respectively. Copper fell for a second day, poised for the biggest monthly drop since September.

Fiat Industrial SpA, the truck and tractor manufacturer that Italian carmaker Fiat SpA spun off in 2011, gained 1 percent to 7.97 euros after saying it will merge with tractor unit CNH Global and move its primary listing to New York.

U.S. stocks fell, putting the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index on pace for its worst month since September, as housing data disappointed and concern grew about Greece’s future in the euro and the health of Spanish banks.

Global equities tumbled, U.S. Treasury 10-year yields slid to a record and the euro weakened to a two-year low. The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell in April by the most in a year. An opinion poll showed most Greeks want to see the terms of a financial rescue revised.

Costs to protect Spanish government debt with default swaps climbed to a record. The European Central Bank denied it has rejected a plan floated by the Spanish government to recapitalize Bankia group, saying it hasn’t been approached. The Spanish government itself has backtracked on an idea to recapitalize Bankia by injecting sovereign debt into its parent company that, according to the Financial Times, could then be used as collateral to borrow from the ECB.

Commodity, financial and industrial shares fell the most among 10 groups in the S&P 500 today. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) slid 3.2 percent to $7.20. Alcoa Inc. (AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, dropped 3.5 percent to $8.58. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), the biggest maker of construction equipment, decreased 2.5 percent to $90.18.

Sears lost 9 percent to $52.34 for the biggest drop in the S&P 500. Kohl’s Corp. slumped 3.6 percent to $48.82. Macy’s Inc. fell 1.8 percent to $38.30.

RIM sank 7.8 percent to $10.35, the lowest level since 2003. An exodus of customers to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google Inc.’s Android devices has taken a toll on sales and profit, putting pressure on management to make changes. An operating loss would be the company’s first since 2004.

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