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Japanese stocks advanced, pushing the Nikkei 225 Stock Average to its highest level in seven weeks, after commodity prices gained and amid increasing confidence Greece may avoid a default, reducing the risk to bank earnings.
Canon Inc. (7751), which counts Europe as its largest market, rose 2.1 percent.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316), Japan’s second-largest publicly traded bank, climbed 1.2 percent.
Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411), Japan’s third-biggest lender by market value, advanced 2.3 percent to 131 yen.
Mitsui & Co., the country’s No. 2 trading company, increased 2.1 percent.
Mitsubishi Corp. (8058), Japan’s largest commodities trader, rose 0.9 percent to 1,990 yen.
Inpex Corp. (1605), the country’s biggest energy explorer, increased 2.1 percent to 589,000 yen.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station, advanced 2.9 percent after shareholders voted not to abandon the nuclear power business.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) advanced 1.7 percent to 3,270 yen after the industrial production report. The carmaker’s U.S. sales plunged by a third because of supply-chain disruptions following Japan’s March 11 disaster. Aisin Seiki Co., a supplier of parts to Toyota, climbed 2.5 percent to 3,085 yen.
European stocks rallied the most in three months as Greek lawmakers passed a package of austerity measures needed to secure the next tranche of European Union financial aid.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou clinched enough votes today to pass the first part of an austerity plan aimed at meeting EU aid requirements and staving off default for his debt-laden nation.
Charter International Plc (CHTR) soared 28 percent as Melrose Plc (MRO) said it made a preliminary approach about a possible takeover offer for the engineering company.
Salvatore Ferragamo SpA surged 11 percent on its first day of trading.
ITV Plc (ITV) and ICAP Plc (IAP) surged more than 6 percent amid speculation they may become bid targets.
Allianz SE (ALV), Europe’s biggest insurer, increased 3.1 percent to 94.91 euros as the stock was upgraded to “overweight” from “equal weight” at Morgan Stanley.
Nobel Biocare AG, the second-largest maker of dental implants by sales, climbed 2.4 percent to 16.91 francs and Wacker Chemie AG (WCH) advanced 3 percent to 149.05 euros as UBS AG upgraded both companies to “buy” from “neutral.”
Senior Plc (SNR), a U.K. maker of air ducts for Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS planes, jumped 8.3 percent to 176 pence after saying pretax profit this year will exceed its forecasts.
U.S. stocks closed higher for a third day on Wednesday, as bank shares boosted the broader market following Bank of America's $8.5 billion settlement over mortgage securities claims.
Investors also cheered Greece's approval of austerity measures on Wednesday, which are meant keep the country from defaulting.
Economy: The National Association of Realtors said that pending home sales rose a better-than-expected 8.2% in May, recovering in part from April's dismal 11.6% decline.
Companies: US Steel (X, Fortune 500) was among the top performers on the S&P 500, rising 6%, after the company was upgraded to "buy" by Deutsche Bank analysts. Competitor AK Steel (AKS, Fortune 500) also closed sharply higher.
KB Home (KBH) shares sank 15%, after the homebuilder reported a second quarter loss.
Monsanto (MON, Fortune 500)'s earnings widely beat expectations, which the company attributed to strength in its seeds business. Shares of Monsanto rose 5%.
Shares of Visa (V, Fortune 500) and Mastercard (MA, Fortune 500) were the top performers on the S&P 500, shooting up more than 10%
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