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08.06.2012 07:43

Stocks: Thursday’s review

Asian stocks climbed, with the benchmark regional gauge heading for its biggest three-day gain this year, as global policy makers signaled they may take steps to stimulate economic growth.

Nikkei 225 8,639.72 +106.19 +1.24%

S&P/ASX 200 4,108.6 +53.31 +1.31%

Shanghai Composite 2,293.13 -16.43 -0.71%

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, advanced 1.5 percent in Sydney as Australian employment unexpectedly rose in May, driven by hiring amid the nation’s minerals boom.

Mitsubishi Corp., the No. 1 Japanese trading house, rose 1.2 percent and Komatsu Ltd., a mining-equipment maker, gained 2.1 percent in Tokyo as investors bought shares of companies with profits closely tied to economic growth.

European stocks rallied, completing their biggest two-day gain since November, after China cut interest rates, adding to speculation that policy makers around the world will take steps to revive growth.

China cut interest rates for the first time since 2008, increasing its efforts to combat a deepening economic slowdown. The one-year deposit rate will drop to 3.25 percent from 3.5 percent with effect from tomorrow and the one-year lending rate will fall to 6.31 percent from 6.56 percent, the People’s Bank of China said on its website today.

The Bank of England today left its asset-purchase program on hold as the threat from above-target inflation overrode policy makers’ concern that the euro area’s debt crisis has weakened U.K. economic growth.

National benchmark indexes climbed in every western- European market that opened today except Portugal. Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 1.2 percent. France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.4 percent. Austria’s market was closed for a public holiday.

A gauge of mining companies surged 2.5 percent for the biggest advance on the Stoxx 600 after China’s central bank cuts its benchmark interest rates. Rio Tinto, the world’s third- largest mining company, increased 4 percent to 3,015 pence, while Anglo American climbed 2 percent to 2,133 pence. Xstrata Plc gained 3 percent to 966.8 pence.

Santander SA added 1.7 percent to 4.78 euros in Madrid after Spain’s bond auction helped ease concern about financing the region’s third-biggest budget deficit. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA increased 1.2 percent to 5.10 euros and Banco de Sabadell SA rose 1.6 percent to 1.37 euros.

Most U.S. stocks fell as a late-day slump in banks and technology shares wiped out an early rally triggered by China’s first interest-rate cut since 2008. Oil slid, while Treasuries rose and the dollar was little changed.

Equities began paring gains at 10 a.m. New York time, while Treasuries turned higher and commodities slid, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank will need to assess conditions before deciding if more measures are needed to stoke an economy threatened by Europe’s debt crisis and U.S. budget cuts. The S&P 500 lost its entire gain by the final 15 minutes of trading as the Associated Press reported that a municipal strike threatens to derail a June 17 Greek election that could determine the nation’s future in the euro.

Stocks rallied earlier as the People’s Bank of China said it will lower its benchmark lending and deposit rates effective tomorrow.

After European markets closed, Fitch Ratings lowered Spain’s debt to BBB from A, leaving it two notches from junk with a negative outlook. The ratings firm cited the cost of recapitalization the nation’s banks and a lengthening recession.

Pall Corp. retreated 4.7 percent to $52.08. The maker of filtration and separation products posted third-quarter earnings that lagged behind analysts’ estimates.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. dropped 9.7 percent to $63.26. The Vancouver-based yoga-wear retailer projected full-year earnings and sales that trailed analysts’ estimates.

08.06.2012 07:20

Tech on USD/JPY

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