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Nikkei +489 (+5.58%) 9093.72
Topix +51 (+6.64%) 817.63
DAX -133.82 (-2.01%) 6514
CAC -84.29 (-2.23%) 3697
FTSE-100 -97.05 (-1.70%) 5598
Dow -242.12 (-2.04%) 11613.20
Nasdaq -50.51 (-1.89%) 2616.82
S&P500 -24.99 (-1.95%) 1256.88
Oil +1.10% $98.28
10-Years -0.11 3.21%
Japanese stocks rose for the first time in five days on speculation a selloff that drove valuations to a 28-month low was excessive even as the country battles to prevent a nuclear disaster after its strongest earthquake.
Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, surged 9.1 percent.
Sony Corp., Japan’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics, jumped 8.8 percent.
Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s No. 3 bank, surged 5.4 percent.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., Asia’s biggest power generator, tumbled by the daily limit for a third day after the company said today a new fire broke out at a reactor following an earthquake on March 11.
Panasonic Corp., the world’s largest maker of plasma televisions, advanced 7.4 percent to 930 yen, the biggest gain since July 2009. The company plans to boost production of dry- cell batteries in Japan and may start importing the product from overseas factories to meet surging demand for disposable batteries after last week’s earthquake, said spokesman Akira Kadota.
European stocks retreated for a sixth day as the European Union’s energy chief said Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant risks provoking a “major disaster,” increasing concern the crisis will worsen.
BNP Paribas SA and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) led banks lower as Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Portugal’s debt rating.
Automakers Renault SA (RNO) and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) lost more than 2 percent amid speculation the Japanese crisis may hurt the economic recovery.
Sonova Holding AG (SOON) plunged the most in eight years after the Swiss hearing-aid maker cut its forecasts.
Moody’s downgraded Portugal’s debt rating by two levels, citing a weaker outlook for economic growth, risks to the government’s deficit-reduction plans and a possible need to recapitalize the country’s banks. The rating was downgraded to A3, four steps from so-called junk status.
Bourbon SA (GBB) fell 5.2 percent to 32.06 euros as the owner of the second-biggest fleet of supply and crew ships for the oil industry reported a 75 percent drop in 2010 profit.
A sell-off in U.S. stocks accelerated Wednesday, with all three major indexes ending at their lowest levels of 2011.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) tumbled 242 points, or 2%, with all 30 components of the blue chip index in the red. IBM (IBM, Fortune 500), General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) and American Express (AXP, Fortune 500) led the decline. The index was down almost 300 points at its low for the day.
The S&P 500 (SPX) slipped 25 points, or 2%, to end at 1,256.88. The broad index closed 2010 at 1,257.64.
The Nasdaq (COMP) lost 51 points, or 1.9%, to finish at 2,616.82. The tech-heavy index closed at 2,652.87 last year.
Economy: The government said new home construction fell 22.5% in February, more than economists were expecting, while the number of permits for future housing construction fell 8.2% to all all-time low.
Separately, the government's Producer Price Index showed that prices at the wholesale level jumped 1.6% in February, which was much more than expected.
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