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Asian stocks swung between gains and losses as reports from the U.S., China and Japan that showed slowing growth in the world’s biggest economies stoked speculation central banks will add to stimulus measures.
Nikkei 225 8,869.37 -2.28 -0.03%
S&P/ASX 200 4,333.8 +7.96 +0.18%
Shanghai Composite 2,128.31 +0.55 +0.03%
Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-biggest mining company, rose 4.1 percent in Sydney as copper rose for a second day.
Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology Co., China’s No. 2 maker of construction equipment, jumped 6.4 percent in Hong Kong after Chinese President Hu Jintao urged Asian governments to speed up infrastructure development.
Tokyo Electron Ltd., a maker chip production equipment, fell 3.5 percent in Tokyo after customer Intel Corp. cut its sales forecast.
European stocks fell, after the region’s equities posted their largest weekly gain in three months, as China’s imports unexpectedly dropped, and Greece struggled to qualify for aid payments.
In China, inbound shipments declined 2.6 percent in August from a year earlier, the customs bureau said in Beijing today. That missed the median estimate of a 3.5 percent gain, according to economists. Imports rose 4.7 percent in July from a year earlier.
Industrial production in the world’s second-largest economy increased the least in three years last month, according to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday. Production increased 8.9 percent, compared with 9.2 percent in July. Greece’s Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, meets with officials from the European Commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund today. He failed to obtain an agreement from his coalition partners on the spending cuts required to obtain further aid from the country’s bailout.
National benchmark indexes fell in 13 of the 18 western- European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX slipped less than 0.1 percent. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.4 percent.
A gauge of food and beverage stocks lost 1.2 percent for the biggest slide of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600. Unilever slid 1.7 percent to 27.41 euros, while AB InBev sank 2.8 percent to 66.18 euros. Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, declined 0.7 percent to 58.85 Swiss francs.
A gauge of mining shares posted the biggest gain on the Stoxx 600 as copper prices rose. Rio Tinto Group climbed 1.6 percent to 3,069 pence and Anglo American Plc added 1.5 percent to 2,001.5 pence.
Royal Philips Electronics NV, a maker of light bulbs, consumer electronics and health-care products, dropped 2.4 percent to 19.03 euros after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its recommendation on the shares to neutral from buy. Credit Suisse Group AG also lowered its rating on Philips to neutral.
U.S. stocks fell, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose to the highest level since 2008, as concern over Greece’s debt crisis overshadowed speculation central banks will take action to spur the economy.
Bets on further stimulus measures have increased as data last week showed payrolls rose less than projected and the unemployment rate was unexpectedly driven down by Americans leaving the labor force. On Aug. 31, Bernanke cited his concern about the jobless rate and said the central bank will provide additional stimulus as needed to promote a stronger recovery. The Fed’s Open Market Committee meets this week and will release a statement on Sept. 13.
Stocks declined earlier today as Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras meets officials from the nation’s creditors after failing to secure agreement from coalition partners on spending cuts. Greece’s Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis, whose party is one of the three in the coalition government, said that no decision had been made on the cuts required to obtain further aid for the country’s bailout, and that poorer citizens must be protected from austerity measures.
Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court is due to rule on the country’s participation in the European Stability Mechanism, a permanent 500 billion-euro fund that offers loans to member states and may buy their bonds to lower borrowing costs.
In Asia, a report showed imports into China slid 2.6 percent in August from a year earlier, the nation’s customs bureau said. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had forecast growth of 3.5 percent. Exports rose 2.7 percent, slower than estimated. Industrial production increased 8.9 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
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