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Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index poised to slide for the first time in three days, on concern Italy’s elections may reignite Europe’s debt crisis.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index erased its gains this year on a report Beijing may introduce more property curbs.
Nikkei 225 11,398.81 -263.71 -2.26%
Hang Seng 22,519.69 -300.39 -1.32%
S&P/ASX 200 5,003.57 -52.20 -1.03%
Shanghai Composite 2,293.34 -32.48 -1.40%
Sony Corp., a Japanese consumer electronics maker that gets a fifth of its revenue in Europe, lost 3.7 percent.
Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. sank 4.8% in Hong Kong.
Hanwha Life Insurance Co. plunged 9.8% in Seoul after Hanwha Chemical Corp. sold its shares.
Global Logistic Properties Ltd. slumped 6.9% in Singapore after a sovereign wealth fund in the city-state said it’s selling a stake in the biggest owner of industrial properties in Japan.
European stocks declined as Italy’s inconclusive parliamentary election renewed concern that the Mediterranean nation will dilute its austerity program and the region’s sovereign-debt crisis will deepen.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) fell 1.3% at the close of trading, the biggest loss since Feb. 21.
Confidence among U.S. consumers rebounded more than forecast in February from its weakest level since November 2011. The Conference Board’s index increased to 69.6 from a revised 58.4 in January. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 76 economists called for a gain to 62.
National benchmark indexes dropped in all 18 western European markets, except Ireland and Denmark.
FTSE 100 6,270.44 -84.93 -1.34%
CAC 40 3,621.92 -99.41 -2.67%
DAX 7,597.11 -176.08 -2.27%
Telecom Italia plunged 7.3%, the lowest price since August 1997.
SEB SA dropped 3.5% after reporting full-year net income of 194.2 million euros ($254 million), missing the average analyst estimate for 206.6 million euros.
BASF lost 4.5%, the sharpest decrease since April. Earnings before interest, tax and one-time items increased 18 percent to 1.8 billion euros in the fourth quarter, the company said today. That missed the median analyst estimate of 1.83 billion euros.
William Demant Holding A/S (WDH), a maker of hearing aids, dropped 5.6 percent to 454.90 kroner, its largest retreat since Aug. 16. The Smorum, Denmark-based company said it expects 2013 Ebit to exceed last year’s 1.65 billion ($290 million) kroner. Analysts had estimated profit of 1.99 billion kroner.
Pandora A/S added 3.8%. The Nordic region’s biggest jewelry maker announced a plan to buy back 700 million kroner of shares this year, equal to 3.6% of its current market value.
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