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05.02.2013 08:45

Stocks: Monday’s review

Asia’s benchmark stock index rose to the highest level in 18 months as U.S. payrolls expanded and China services industries grew at the fastest pace since August, adding to optimism in the global economic recovery.

Nikkei 225 11,260.35 +69.01 +0.62%

S&P/ASX 200 4,907.52 -13.58 -0.28%

Shanghai Composite 2,428.15 +9.13 +0.38%

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest mining company, advanced 1.2 percent in Sydney, leading gains among companies with earnings closely tied to economic growth.

Sony Corp., trying to reverse a two-year decline in PlayStation sales, surged 7.5 percent in Tokyo amid speculation the firm is prepping a new version of the home console.

Panasonic Corp., Japan’s second-largest TV maker, soared 17 percent after reporting an unexpected third-quarter profit.

European stocks tumbled the most in more than three months as Spanish and Italian banks retreated with the nations’ government bonds amid signs of returning political uncertainty in the region’s weakest economies.

Newspaper El Pais last week published allegations of illegal cash payments, featuring extracts from handwritten ledgers by the former People’s Party Treasurer Luis Barcenas showing payments to officials including Rajoy. The premier, who is facing opposition calls to resign, visits Berlin today before a European Union summit begins on Thursday.

The yield on 10-year Italian debt increased 14 basis points to 4.47 percent. Berlusconi yesterday promised to abolish a property tax valued at about 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) if elected in the Feb. 24-25 ballot, in an effort to roll back austerity implemented by Prime Minister Mario Monti.

National benchmark indexes declined in all of the 18 western European markets, except Greece and Denmark. Italy’s FTSE MIB Index sank 4.5 percent, the most in six months. Spain’s IBEX 35 slid 3.8 percent for a sixth day of declines, the longest losing streak in 10 months. France’s CAC 40 plunged 3 percent for the biggest drop since April. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6 percent and Germany’s DAX lost 2.5 percent.

Santander plunged 5.7 percent to 5.69 euros in Madrid while Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA fell 4.7 percent to 6.97 euros. Yields on Spanish 10-year securities climbed 23 basis points to 5.44 percent today as Rajoy denied corruption and strategists from Commerzbank AG recommended reducing holdings of the nation’s debt.

In Italy, UniCredit tumbled 8.3 percent to 4.25 euros as UBS AG downgraded the shares to neutral from buy. Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, the nation’s second-biggest bank, retreated 5.4 percent to 1.38 euros.

Royal Imtech NV plunged 48 percent to 10.20 euros, the largest drop since at least 1989. The Dutch provider of infrastructure for stadiums said it may have to book writedowns of at least 100 million euros because of alleged irregularities at its Polish business.

Swatch Group AG added 5 percent to 543.50 francs, its highest price since at least 1993, after the biggest maker of Swiss watches reported a 26 percent increase in 2012 net income to 1.6 billion francs. That beat the average analyst estimate of 1.49 billion francs in a survey as the company produced more watches and took advantage of expanded production capacity at its factories.

U.S. stock indexes spent all trading in negative territory amid weak data on factory orders, reduce rating on the stock number of "blue chip" and government bond yield growth in Italy and Spain.

Today the yield of government bonds in Italy and Spain rose, although not critical, accompanied by increased risk of political instability in these countries, which could aggravate their exit from the current crisis.

Media reported that the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy may resign. The reason for this is the information that Rajoy might be involved in a corruption scandal.

The market also reacted negatively to the information that the former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, the gap between the race favorite Pier Luigi Bersani, despite the lawsuits related to tax evasion.

After the start of the negative pressure on the index was published data on factory orders in the U.S., which were lower than forecast (1.8% vs. 2.3%), with the value from the previous reporting period has been revised downwards (from 0 , 0% to -0.3%).

As for the news of the corporate plan, it is worth noting downgrade shares of companies such as Merck (MRK, -2.34%), Wal-Mart (WMT, -1.22%) and Chevron (CVX, -1.12%).

All components of the index DOW dropped, except for shares Boeing Co. (BA, +0.45%). More than the others fell in the share price The Travelers Companies (TRV, -2.37%).

All sectors of the S & P finished trading in the red. More than other basic materials sector declined (-1.7%).

At the close:

S & P 500 1,495.71 -17.46 -1.15%

NASDAQ 3,131.17 -47.93 -1.51%

Dow 13,880.08 -129.71 -0.93%

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