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Nikkei +132.75 (+1.5%) 8,772.36
Topix +9.58 (+1.3%) 751.82
DAX -96.94 (-1.71%) 5,584
CAC -20.55 (-0.65%) 3,119
FTSE-100 -74.75 (-1.44%) 5,131
Dow -170.81 (-1.51%) 11,149.90
Nasdaq -48.06 (-1.95%) 2,420
S&P500 -18.33 (-1.56%) 1,159
Oil -0.32 (-0.38%) $84.98
10-Years 2.22% -0.04
Japanese stocks rose, pushing up the Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average the most in almost two months, after better-than-estimated U.S. economic data improved the earnings outlook for exporters.
The Topix has lost about 11 percent this month amid concern U.S. growth is sputtering and Europe’s debt crisis will damage the banking system, damping demand in two of Japan’s biggest export markets.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), which gets 28 percent of its sales in the U.S. and Canada, rose 1.7 percent after demand for cars boosted orders for U.S. durable goods the most in four months.
Sony Corp. (6758), Panasonic Corp. (6752) and other Japanese technology companies gained as shares of Apple Inc. dropped in after-hours trading following Steve Jobs’ resignation as the firm’s chief executive officer.
Panasonic, an electronics maker which yesterday dropped to its lowest level since 1980, climbed 3.8 percent to 792 yen.
Nippon Electric Glass Co. rose 6.1 percent to 751 yen. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its investment rating on the glassmaker to “buy” from “neutral,” citing an increase in its market share and improved profit performance.
Hitachi Chemical Co. climbed 4.4 percent to 1,287 yen after the maker of chemical products said it will establish a subsidiary in India.
EU stocks tumbled, pushing the DAX Index (DAX) down as 4 percent during one 15-minute stretch, as traders rushed to sell futures to hedge equities amid speculation bans on short selling would be extended.
German shares have declined more than gauges in France, Spain and Italy.
The DAX has dropped for the past four weeks as concern escalated that the global economy is slowing and the euro-area debt crisis spread to Italy and Spain, bringing the decline from this year’s high on May 2 to 26 percent.
After the close of trading today, French, Italian and Spanish regulators extended temporary bans on short selling introduced this month. Spain and Italy lengthened their restrictions through Sept. 30 and France said its prohibitions could last as long as Nov. 11.
The three countries, along with Belgium, imposed bans on short-selling of some financial stocks in an effort to stabilize markets after European banks including Societe Generale SA hit their lowest levels since the credit crisis of 2008.
Utilities and chemical companies led the selloff in Frankfurt. EON AG, the nation’s biggest power company, dropped 3.1 percent to 14.68 euros while RWE AG retreated 3.9 percent to 25.37 euros.
BASF SE (BAS), the world’s largest chemical company, retreated 3.3 percent to 48.25 euros and K&S AG, Europe’s biggest potash producer, lost 2.9 percent to 43.32 euros.
U.S. stocks were lower Thursday afternoon, as investors hit the brakes following a 3-day advance, and as nervousness about Europe's debt crisis returned to the spotlight.
Investors also grew anxious about Europe, amid rumors that ratings agencies may downgrade the credit rating in Germany -- Europe's largest economy.
Standard and Poor's, Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Services said Thursday that they did not have any updates to their AAA-rating on Germany.
This week's three-day stock advance in the U.S. has been attributed to investor hopes that Fed chief Ben Bernanke will announce steps on Friday to spur the faltering economy at the Kansas City Fed's annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
At last year's meeting, Bernanke prepared the market for QE2 -- a bond-buying program that is widely credited for supporting stocks earlier this year.
Companies: Financial stocks were the biggest winners Thursday, as investors reacted to Warren Buffett's $5 billion bet on battered shares of Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500). The news was a welcome surprise, since Bank of America shares have been hammered recently and are down roughly 40% over the past month
Shares of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank rallied 9%, making it the biggest gainer on the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes.
Other bank stocks were right behind BofA with healthy gains. Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) and Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) were up between 3% and 4%, while US Bancorp (USB, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) also edged higher.
Meanwhile, shares of Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) dipped almost 1% after co-founder and two-time CEO Steve Jobs resigned late Wednesday.
Former Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will replace Jobs, who will remain chairman of the second-most valuable company in the world.
Economy: First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected, as a dispute between Verizon Communications (VZ, Fortune 500) and its union employees caused thousands of workers to seek jobless benefits
Ongoing claims, which include people filing for the second week of benefits or more, dropped to the lowest level since September 2008.
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