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Japanese stocks fell to the lowest in five months as the yen approached a post-World War II high, hurting prospects for exporters’ earnings, and after Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co. cut Japan’s economic forecast.
In Japan, exports fell more than expected in July amid the global slowdown and strengthening currency. Overseas sales decreased 3.3 percent in July from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 2.6 percent decline, after a 1.6 percent decrease in June.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s largest carmaker, declined to the lowest since January 2009.
Kyocera Corp. (6971), a maker of solar panels that gets 17 percent of its sales in the U.S., lost 2.3 percent.
Minebea Co., a ball-bearing maker, tumbled 5.7 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its profit and share price estimates of Japanese electronic components makers.
TDK slumped 4.1 percent to 3,320 yen. Shinko Electric lost 3.5 percent to 526 yen, its lowest since December 2008.
European equities plummeted the most in more than two years as U.S. economic data missed forecasts, two Federal Reserve officials said the central bank shouldn’t act to protect stock investors and Swedish regulators warned that lenders are unprepared for a freeze in money markets.
Dexia SA (DEXB) and Societe Generale SA slid more than 12 percent as the Wall Street Journal also said that U.S. regulators are stepping up scrutiny of Europe’s largest lenders.
Societe Generale (GLE), France’s second-largest lender, dropped 12 percent to 21.60 euros, the lowest since March 2009.
HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s biggest bank by market value, declined 6 percent to 509.6 pence.
Swedbank AB (SWEDA) retreated 9 percent to 83.55 kronor in Stockholm, the largest decline in two years.
Nordea Bank AB (NDA), Sweden’s biggest bank, fell 7.4 percent to 54.70 kronor.
Fiat SpA (F) lost 12 percent as a gauge of carmakers fell 7.4 percent.
Holcim Ltd. (HOLN) sank 8 percent as the world’s second-biggest cement maker reported profit that missed estimates.
Wall Street got socked on Thursday as renewed concerns about the U.S. and global economies sent major indexes plunging, pushed gold to a new high and bond yields to a record low.
Stocks were hit with bad news on multiple fronts. Morgan Stanley put out a dismal forecast for global economic growth. A key reading on U.S. housing came in worse than expected. And a report showed a significant slowdown in the domestic manufacturing sector.
Economy: The Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims rose by a worse-than-expected 9,000 claims to 408,000 in the week ended Aug. 13.
The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales dropped by 3.5% in July, far worse than the 2% rise that the market was looking for.
The consumer price index, increased 0.5% in the month - led by a 4.7% jump in gas prices from month to month. Economists expected a 0.2% rise in July.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks ended mixed as investors weighed the latest corporate results against global economic and debt concerns.
Companies: Shares of Dow component Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, Fortune 500) dropped 8% after the company cut its full-year outlook and said it was looking to spin off its PC business. The company also said it was in talks to possibly purchase British software company Autonomy.
The tech giant also reported its quarterly results, posting an adjusted profit of $1.10 a share versus the $1.09 that analysts had expected.
Shares of McGraw Hill (MHP, Fortune 500) dropped 6% after a New York Times report said the Justice Department was investigating rating agency Standard & Poor's, a subsidiary, for allegedly overrating mortgage-backed securities. The mortgage securities meltdown led to the 2008 financial crisis.
The stock price for Sears Holdings (SHLD, Fortune 500) fell more than 8% after the retailer reported a disappointing quarterly loss of $1.13 per share.
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