Hitachi Ltd., which makes consumer electronics, gained 3.8 percent. Elpida Memory Inc., the world’s No. 3 maker of computer-memory chips, increased 5.7 percent. Panasonic Corp., the world’s largest maker of plasma televisions, climbed 0.6 percent. Toray Industries Inc. rose 4.7 percent, leading textile companies higher and extending gains yesterday, after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its share-price estimate on the company.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 0.4 percent to 10,557.10 at the close of trading in Tokyo. The broader Topix index climbed 0.6 percent to 936.87, with more than double the number of stocks rising as falling. The Topix is on course for its third consecutive weekly gain this year.
The Topix has risen 4.2 percent this year, driving the average price of shares in the index to 16.1 times estimated earnings on average, near the highest level since August. The gauge sank 1 percent in 2010 as the yen at its strongest annual average level against the dollar since 1971 dimmed the outlook for export earnings, and as Europe’s debt crisis, China’s steps to curb inflation and concern about U.S. growth damped confidence in a global recovery.
European stocks slid the most since November after a report said the U.S. building industry started work on fewer homes than projected and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. posted earnings that failed to exceed analysts’ estimates.
Qiagen NV sank 2.2 percent as Exane BNP Paribas cut its recommendation on the shares. Swatch Group AG declined even after reporting increased sales and ASML Holding NV dropped even as its quarterly profit beat estimates. Kesa Electricals Plc plunged 9.8 percent after the owner of Comet and Darty electrical goods stores said its profit will be toward the lower end of analysts’ projections.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 1.4 percent to 282.72 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, the gauge’s largest retreat in seven weeks. The measure advanced 1 percent last week as investors speculated that European leaders will increase their efforts to contain the region’s debt crisis.
Euro-area finance ministers meeting late on Jan. 17 ruled out increasing the size of the 750 billion-euro EFSF for now.
U.S. stocks fell, pulling benchmark indexes down from two-year highs, as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported profit that failed to exceed analysts’ estimates and housing starts declined more than forecast.
Goldman Sachs slid 3.1 percent after earnings tumbled 52 percent because of lower revenue from trading and investment banking. A gauge of homebuilders in S&P indexes slumped 2.6 percent. American Express Co. fell the most in a month, retreating 2.6 percent, following a lower-than-estimated profit forecast. International Business Machines Corp. rallied 3.5 percent after earnings topped projections.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 1 percent to 1,282.74 at 2:32 p.m. in New York after a two-day rally of 0.9 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 19.37 points, or 0.2 percent, to 11,818.56 as IBM’s advance limited losses.
The S&P 500 has rallied seven straight weeks as optimism increased that the economy is rebounding and companies beat profit estimates. Seventeen of the 24 companies in the index that reported quarterly earnings since Jan. 10 have topped analysts’ predictions, according to Bloomberg data. Income grew 22 percent in the fourth quarter and will increase 14 percent in 2011, according to the average analyst projections. Sales topped estimates at 18 of the 24.