Asian stocks rose, paring two weeks of losses, amid optimism new governments in Greece and Italy will help contain Europe’s debt crisis and after top economists said China will have a “soft landing.”
Mario Monti, former European Union competition commissioner, was asked to become Italy’s new prime minister over the weekend after the region’s debt crisis led to the unraveling of a coalition led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, who was sworn in on Nov. 11, said the country’s new government must implement agreements from last month’s European summit to receive more loans and avoid default.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average added 1.1 percent after the government said gross domestic product grew at an annualized 6 percent in the three months ending Sept. 30, the fastest pace in a year and a half. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.9 percent and Shanghai’s Composite Index increased 1.9 percent.
Japan’s exporters rose, with Nissan advancing 2 percent to 719 yen. Fanuc Corp., a maker of factory robots that gets 75 percent of its sales abroad, rose 3.6 percent to 12,810 yen. Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s third-largest carmaker by market value, increased 2 percent after the nation’s economy expanded for the first time in four quarters.
Stocks advanced in Hong Kong after two of China’s best- known economists said the world’s second-largest economy was heading for a “soft landing.” Zhu Min, deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund, and Fan Gang, director at the National Economic Research Institute, spoke yesterday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu, hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama. Chinese President Hu Jintao on Nov. 12 pushed for increased imports as a means to balance the economy and foster global growth.
China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. advanced 6.2 percent after two of China’s best- known economists said the economy was responding to policies to reduce lending, slow inflation and curb property prices. Bank of Communications Co., a provider of commercial banking services, rose 1.4 percent to HK$5.73 in Hong Kong. Komatsu Ltd., a Japanese machinery maker that gets 23 percent of its sales in China, climbed 3.8 percent to 1,978 yen.
Want Want China Holdings Ltd., the country’s biggest producer of rice cakes, surged 6.1 percent to HK$7.44 after Hang Seng Indexes Co. said the company will be added to Hong Kong’s benchmark index.
Hynix Semiconductor Inc. gained in Seoul after its shareholders accepted SK Telecom Co.’s bid to buy 20 percent of the chipmaker. The world’s second-largest maker of computer- memory chips added 3.5 percent to 22,300 won.
European stocks dropped as Italy’s borrowing costs rose after the nation sold 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion) of bonds at the highest yield since 1997. Stocks initially climbed after Mario Monti, a former European Union competition commissioner, was appointed Italy’s new prime minister, as the country tackles the euro region’s second-biggest debt. Silvio Berlusconi resigned after defections ended his parliamentary majority and the country’s 10-year bond yield surged over the 7 percent threshold that prompted Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek EU bailouts.
Italy sold 3 billion euros of five-year bonds, the maximum target for the auction, as borrowing costs climbed. The Rome- based Treasury sold the bonds to yield 6.29 percent, the highest since June 1997 and up from 5.32 percent at the last auction on Oct. 13. The yield on five-year Italian notes rose 17 basis points to 6.63 percent following the auction.
In Greece, the nation’s finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said his priority is to ensure the country gets a sixth loan under an EU-led bailout after Prime Minister Lucas Papademos took charge of a new interim government.
Spiegel magazine reported that German lawmakers are preparing for Greece’s departure from the euro if the debt- strapped country’s new government doesn’t commit to reforms. The magazine did not say where it got the information.
National benchmark indexes fell in 13 of the 18 western- European markets today. France’s CAC 40 Index lost 1.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.5 percent and Germany’s DAX Index dropped 1.2 percent.
UniCredit sank 6.2 percent to 77.4 euro cents after the board approved a share sale to boost capital. The Italian lender also reported a 10.6 billion-euro loss for the third quarter, following almost 10 billion euros in goodwill impairments and writedowns, and said it won’t pay a dividend for 2011.
Spain’s government securities also slid, pushing the 10- year yield to 6.11 percent, surpassing 6 percent for the first time since the European Central Bank was said to resume buying the nation’s debt on Aug. 8. ECB Governing Council member Jens Weidmann suggested policy makers should end their support of the region’s most indebted nations. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Spain’s second-biggest bank, dropped 3.2 percent to 5.97 euros and Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest lender, slid 2.7 percent to 5.65 euros and Bankinter SA slipped 2.3 percent to 4.15 euros.
Hochtief declined 11 percent to 45.55 euros for the biggest drop on the Stoxx 600 after Germany’s largest construction company said that the “macroeconomic situation” has delayed the sale of its airport-operating unit. The company predicted it will post a net loss if the sale isn’t concluded this year.
Q-Cells SE slumped 27 percent to 85 euro cents after the German solar cell and module maker posted a third-quarter loss before interest and taxes of 47.3 million euros, wider than analysts had estimated. Q-Cells also announced the resignation of its chief financial officer Marion Helmes.
U.S. stocks declined, snapping a two-day advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as an increase in Italian borrowing costs deepened concern Europe will struggle to contain its sovereign debt crisis. Stocks fell as the yield on the Italian five-year bond rose following an auction and Spanish 10-year rates surged to a euro- era record above German yields. The S&P 500 extended its decline after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Europe’s permanent bailout fund may not be implemented before 2013. The equity index also dropped after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party voted to offer euro states a “voluntary” means of leaving the currency area.
Bank of America slid 2.6 percent to $6.05. The second- biggest U.S. lender by assets will sell 10.4 billion CCB shares this month to a group of investors in private transactions for an after-tax gain of about $1.8 billion, the bank said today. After the closing, the company will own about 1 percent of the common shares of CCB, the U.S. lender said.
Bank of New York Mellon slumped 4.5 percent to $20.55. The bank plans to save as much as $700 million before taxes by 2015, through operational improvements such as consolidating applications, insourcing software development and consolidating locations. BNY Mellon is cutting expenses as lawsuits over the pricing of foreign exchange transactions are pushing up legal costs and interest rates near zero erode revenue.
Boeing rallied 1.5 percent, the most in the Dow, to $67.94. The company signed an agreement with Emirates at the Dubai Air show for 50 of its 777-300ER jets and an option for 20 more, in a deal valued at $26 billion. The accord extends their relationship in the wide-body market, with Emirates operating more than 90 of the 777s for the industry’s biggest such fleet.
Lowe’s Cos. advanced 1.7 percent to $23.50. The second- largest U.S. home-improvement retailer reported third-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates, helped by sales at older stores.
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) lost less than 0.1 percent to $187.35, after rallying as much as 1.3 percent. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. bought a 5.5 percent stake in the computer-services provider as the billionaire chairman accelerated stock purchases. Buffett, who spent more than $10 billion on IBM stock, paid near-record prices for the shares, recalling his winning 1988 investment in Coca-Cola Co.
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