Asian stocks fell for a third day as Greece’s plan for a referendum on Europe’s bailout stoked concern the sovereign-debt crisis won’t be contained. Hong Kong stocks rallied on speculation that China may act to stimulate its economy. This week’s slide in Asian stocks has almost erased gains that came last week as Europe appeared to have struck a deal to contain the debt crisis. Papandreou, whose hold on power is weakening, will fly to Cannes, France, today on the eve of a Group of 20 summit that starts tomorrow.Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average decreased 2.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) gained 1.9 percent, erasing losses of as much as 1.8 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.4 percent, reversing a decline of as much as 1.5 percent.Macquarie sank 2.8 percent to A$23.62. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s largest publicly traded bank, decreased 2.3 percent to 334 yen. Rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. fell 2.2 percent to 2,144 yen.James Hardie Industries SE, a supplier of building materials that counts the U.S. as its biggest market, sank 3.7 percent to A$5.81 in Sydney. Samsung Electronics Co., South Korea’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics, slipped 1.9 percent to 971,000 won in Seoul. Sony slid 3.6 percent to 1,520 yen in Tokyo.Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. declined after a report showed U.S. sales for Japan’s top two carmakers declined last month. Toyota fell 3.5 percent to 2,505 yen. Honda dropped 4.2 percent to 2,304 yen.Nomura Holdings Inc. fell 4.1 percent to 282 yen after the brokerage posted a second-quarter loss of 46.1 billion yen ($590 million) that’s wider than analysts’ estimated. The company said will consider eliminating jobs at home to cut costsSamsung Heavy Industries Co., South Korea’s second-biggest shipbuilder by market value, dropped 3.4 percent to 32,600 won in Seoul after reporting a 53 percent slump in profit.OneSteel Ltd., Australia’s second-largest producer of the metal, tumbled 18 percent to 98.5 Australian cents in Sydney, the most on record and the biggest decline on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. The company cut its first-half profit forecast because of lower iron ore prices and gains in the local currency.Among stocks that advanced, Chinese lenders and developers advanced on speculation the nation’s slowing inflation would convince authorities to ease monetary policy. China’s inflation may ease to 5.3 percent or 5.4 percent in October, said Zhu Jianfang, a Beijing-based economist at Citic Securities Co. The figure is due next week. Consumer prices rose 6.1 percent in September.ICBC, as the world’s biggest lender by market value is known, jumped 4 percent to HK$4.94 in Hong Kong. China Construction Bank Corp., the nation’s No. 2 lender by market value, increased 3 percent to HK$5.83. China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd., the largest mainland developer listed in Hong Kong, surged 6.1 percent to HK$14.52. China Resources Land Ltd., a state-owned developer, climbed 3.9 percent to HK$11.64.Builders of China’s rail infrastructure rallied after a report by Xinhua News Agency, which cited unnamed people from the railway ministry, said the government will get more than 200 billion yuan ($31.5 billion) as financial support to ensure payments for projects.China Railway Group Ltd., China’s biggest builder of railway infrastructure, jumped 9 percent to HK$2.92 in Hong Kong. China Railway Construction Corp. surged 11 percent to HK$5.36.
European stocks rose, snapping the biggest three-day drop in almost two months, as U.S. companies hired more workers than forecast and Federal Reserve policy makers raised their assessment of the economy in a statement at the close of trading. Euro-area leaders, racing to prevent their week-old debt crisis strategy from unraveling, are holding emergency talks today to tell Greece there is no alternative to the budget cuts imposed in the bailout plan.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 11 of the 18 western European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 1.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 advanced 1.4 percent. Germany’s DAX Index gained 2.3 percent.
Randgold climbed 7.4 percent to 7,235 pence, the highest price since it first started trading in 1997. The miner said it expects its gold production to increase as much as 22 percent next year as output in Mali and Ivory Coast rises. Output may jump to 850,000 ounces to 900,000 ounces in 2012 from a target of 740,000 ounces to 760,000 ounces this year, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said today in an interview in London.
Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest mining company, advanced 3.8 percent to 3,375 pence as copper rose more than 1.5 percent on the London Metal Exchange. Antofagasta Plc advanced 5.4 percent to 1,174 pence as the copper producer controlled by Chile’s Luksic family reported a 17 percent increase in quarterly output.
Next Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest clothing retailer, advanced 6.5 percent to 2,723 pence after reporting growth in third-quarter brand sales that exceeded analyst estimates.
Lundin Petroleum AB, the oil explorer with a stake in the giant Avaldsnes-Aldous Major North Sea find, rose 6.5 percent to 163 kronor after forecasting higher production in 2012. The company reported third-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $262 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $223 million.
Volkswagen AG led a gauge of automakers to the biggest gain of all industry groups in the Stoxx 600, rallying 6 percent to 127.20 euros. China’s passenger-car market may grow 8 percent to 10 percent a year over the coming five years, Karl-Thomas Neumann, head of VW’s Chinese operations said today at a conference in Berlin.
Lloyds, Britain’s biggest mortgage, dropped 4.4 percent to 29.21 pence. Horta-Osorio is taking leave of absence from his duties as CEO following medical advice and will be replaced in the interim by Finance Director Tim Tookey.
Logica Plc sank 7.3 percent to 83 pence as the Anglo-Dutch computer services provider posted third-quarter sales that trailed analyst estimates and cut its annual earnings forecast.
Meda AB, Sweden’s largest publicly traded drugmaker, fell 7.6 percent to 59.30 kronor after saying its profit margin in northern Europe dropped in the third quarter.U.S. stocks dropped, driving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the biggest two-day U.S. stocks advanced, rebounding from a two-day drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as the Federal Reserve said economic growth strengthened and it is prepared to take action if needed to safeguard the recovery.The Federal Open Market Committee said “economic growth strengthened somewhat in the third quarter,” while also saying “significant downside risks” remain to the outlook. Stocks extended gains as Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said additional purchases of mortgage-backed securities are a “viable option” if the state of the economy warrants further easing.Fed officials lowered their outlook for U.S. economic growth in 2012 and forecast that unemployment will average from 8.5 percent to 8.7 percent in the final three months of next year. Forecasts for 2012 growth in U.S. gross domestic product from the five Fed Board members and 12 reserve bank presidents centered around 2.5 percent to 2.9 percent, measured from the fourth quarter of this year to the fourth quarter of next year. For this year, the central tendency forecast for U.S. growth was 1.6 percent to 1.7 percent.Gauges of commodity and financial shares had the biggest gains in the S&P 500 among 10 industries, rising at least 2.2 percent. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Alcoa Inc. (AA) rallied more than 2.4 percent.MasterCard Inc. jumped 7 percent as profit beat analysts’ estimates.MF Global Holdings Ltd. tumbled 79 percent in its first day of over-the-counter trading after the futures brokerage filed for bankruptcy, prompting the New York Stock Exchange to delist the shares.Phone stocks gained after the U.S. House voted to bar new state and local taxes on wireless services. Sprint Nextel Corp. climbed 9.2 percent to $2.72. AT&T Inc. increased 1.3 percent to $29.08.AOL Inc. rallied 13 percent to $15.02. The Internet company that’s struggling to halt a sales slide reported third-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates by 65 percent.