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Asian stocks fell, with every major benchmark gauge in the region retreating, as economic data in the U.S. and China stoked concern about global growth. Japan’s Topix Index closed at the lowest level since 1983.
Nikkei 225 8,295.63 -144.62 -1.71%
S&P/ASX 200 3,985 -78.88 -1.94%
Shanghai Composite 2,308.55 -64.89 -2.73%
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index joined the Topix in falling more than 20 percent from this year’s high, a drop that would see the measure close in a so-called bear market.
Sony Corp., a Japanese exporter of consumer electronics that gets about a fifth of its sales in the U.S., fell to levels not seen since 1980, when the Walkman was introduced in the U.S.
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, and Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, lost at least 2 percent as a gauge of commodities fell to an eight-month low.
European stocks declined for a fourth day as reports showed that orders to U.S. factories unexpectedly fell in April and China’s services-industry growth weakened in May.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said European leaders should reinforce efforts to protect euro-area lenders, increasing pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to back new ideas to resolve the debt crisis.
French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici will travel to Brussels today to meet with European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and EU Financial Services Commissioner Michel Barnier. Moscovici has said that aid for troubled banks should come through the European Stability Mechanism rather than through governments.
National benchmark indexes dropped in nine the 15 western European markets that were open today. Germany’s DAX fell 1.2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 added 0.1 percent
Volkswagen and Daimler dropped 3.2 percent to 119.75 euros and 1.9 percent to 34.85 euros, respectively, as a gauge of European carmakers was the worst performer of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
Aker Solutions declined 3 percent to 75.05 kroner, its lowest since Jan. 31.
Spanish and Italian banks paced gains, as a gauge of European lenders posted the best performance on the Stoxx 600. UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo each rallied 4.5 percent to 2.61 euros and 5.8 percent to 1.06 euros, respectively. Banco Santander SA jumped 4.9 percent to 4.53 euros. Banco BPI SA rallied for the fifth day, its longest stretch of gains since July 2011.
U.S. stocks reversed losses as the cheapest price-to-earnings valuation for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in six months overshadowed a drop in factory orders.
Earlier losses in U.S. stocks today extended the S&P 500’s drop from its peak to more than 10 percent as government data showed factory orders fell 0.6 percent in April, pointing to a deceleration in manufacturing. China’s non-manufacturing industries expanded at the slowest pace in more than a year.
Chesapeake Energy rallied 6 percent to $16.52. Four of the company’s eight non-executive directors will be replaced with nominees of the largest shareholders, Southeastern Asset Management Inc. and Icahn. Icahn triggered the overhaul by acquiring a 7.6 percent stake last month to rein in what he saw as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon’s risk- taking and overspending that led to a $22 billion cash crunch and eroded the share price.
Caterpillar (CAT), the largest maker of construction and mining equipment, dropped 2.6 percent to $83.26. JPMorgan (JPM) fell 2.9 percent to $31.
Facebook slumped 3 percent to $26.90 and went as low as $26.44, after tumbling 13 percent last week. The world’s biggest social network dropped after Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. initiated coverage with an underperform rating and a $25 share- price estimate.
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