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Japanese stocks gained for a third day as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke indicated the U.S. economy may not need more stimulus, and Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda was elected head of Japan’s ruling party.
Sony Corp. (6758), Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, gained 2.8 percent. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (9107), Japan’s third- largest shipper by market value, jumped 3.1 percent after Nomura Holdings Inc. said it was “bullish” on the industry. Softbank Corp. (9984), Japan’s third-largest mobile-phone operator, increased 2 percent after profiting from selling shares in Yahoo! Inc.
“Bernanke’s speech fell into what people had expected, but by extending the next meeting, it showed they are ready to introduce a measure,” said Kazuhiro Takahashi, a general manager at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets Co. in Tokyo. “U.S. stocks have stabilized, which is a plus for Japanese stocks.”
European stocks rose after two days of losses dragged equities near to the cheapest valuation in more than two years and a report showed U.S. consumer spending gained in July.
EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA (EUROB) and Alpha Bank SA jumped by the maximum 30 percent after agreeing to merge to create Greece’s biggest bank, driving the ASE Index to the biggest gain in 21 years.
Munich Re and Swiss Re Ltd., the world’s largest reinsurers, advanced more than 4 percent as the damage from Hurricane Irene in the U.S. was less severe than estimated.
National Bank of Greece SA (ETE), the country’s largest bank, surged 29 percent to 3.59 euros while Piraeus Bank SA (TPEIR) jumped 29 percent to 72 euro cents.
Public Power Corp. SA, Greece’s biggest electricity producer, rallied 24 percent to 6.81 euros.
U.S. stocks rose, extending the first weekly gain since July for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, amid optimism the economy will recover and after Hurricane Irene failed to shut financial markets.
The S&P 500 Insurance Index (S5INSU) of 22 stocks rallied 4.6 percent as Hurricane Irene’s estimated cost declined with the storm losing strength en route to New York.
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) rose 7.7 percent after agreeing to sell about half its stake in China Construction Bank Corp. in a deal generating $8.3 billion in cash proceeds.
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) added 3.7 percent as the drugmaker won U.S. approval to sell a drug to treat lung cancer.
The S&P 500 has fallen as much as 18 percent from a three- year high on April 29 amid concern about a global economic slowdown. Gauges of financial, industrial and energy shares, which are most-tied to the economy, led the declines in the index, slumping at least 22 percent over that period.
Equities climbed today after Americans’ spending increased more than economists forecast while incomes grew at the projected pace. Benchmark gauges also rose as two Greek banks, EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA and Alpha Bank SA, discussed merging. Equities in Greece rallied the most in more than 20 years.
All 10 groups in the S&P 500 rose between 1.1 percent and 3.7 percent, with gains being led by financial and industrial stocks. The Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index of companies most- dependent on economic growth added 3.9 percent.
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