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Most Asian stocks fell as China’s pledge to keep inflation controls sent mainland developers lower and Fitch Ratings said a further spread of Europe’s debt crisis poses a “serious risk” to U.S. banks.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average rose 0.2 percent, reversing an earlier decline of as much as 0.7 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.8 percent after China’s central bank said it can’t loosen control over prices and reiterated Premier Wen Jiabao’s pledge to “fine-tune” policies when needed.
China Resources fell 4.1 percent to HK$11.14 in Hong Kong. China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. slid 1.8 percent to HK$13.06. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s No. 1 lender by market value, dropped 1.5 percent to HK$4.58. China Life Insurance Co., the country’s biggest insurer, declined 2.1 percent to HK$20.80.
Lenders declined on concern that Europe’s debt crisis will increase financing costs and crimp earnings. National Australia Bank dropped 1.1 percent to A$24.34 in Sydney. HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s No. 1 bank by market value, retreated 0.8 percent to HK$60.25 in Hong Kong.
Esprit Holdings Ltd. declined 6.1 percent to HK$9.02 amid signs economic growth is slowing in Europe, where the clothier gets 79 percent of sales. The Bank of England yesterday said Britain’s economy faces a “markedly weaker” outlook and Spain cut its economic forecast.
Energy companies rose after oil yesterday traded above $100 a barrel. Crude for December delivery slipped today as much as 97 cents to $101.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
BHP Billiton Ltd., an Australian miner and oil producer, rose 1.1 percent to A$37.04. Inpex advanced 1.2 percent to 492,500 yen. Rival Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. climbed 3.6 percent to 3,050 yen.
Among other stocks that rose, TDK Corp. jumped 8.8 percent to 3,535 yen in Tokyo after a regulatory filing showed a unit of Western Digital Corp. has agreed to buy components from the Japanese maker of disk drive heads.
European stocks fell after Spain’s borrowing costs surged to a euro-era record on waning demand at a bond sale, adding to concern the region’s sovereign debt crisis is deepening.
Spanish bonds sank, driving 10-year yields to as much as 6.78 percent, the highest since before the euro was introduced, as borrowing costs climbed to the most in at least seven years at an auction of securities. The benchmark yield was trading at 6.49 percent at 4:39 p.m.
In France, the extra yield, or spread, investors receive for holding 10-year French debt instead of benchmark German bunds reached 2 percentage points for the first time in the shared currency’s history as the country sold 8.01 billion euros of notes and bonds.
National benchmark indexes fell in all but one of the 18 western-European markets today. France’s CAC 40 slid 1.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6 percent and Germany’s DAX lost 1.1 percent.
A gauge of European banks declined 2.2 percent as the three-month cross-currency basis swap, the rate banks pay to convert euro payments into dollars, reached 131 basis points below the euro interbank offered rate in London, the most expensive since December 2008.
BNP Paribas, France’s largest lender, fell 4.6 percent to 28.49 euros. Societe Generale slid 3.9 percent to 16.95 euros. Credit Agricole SA lost 4.7 percent to 4.43 euros. Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest bank, declined 3.7 percent to 27.29 euros.
Copper tumbled the most in a week in London on concern Europe’s debt crisis may spread to other economies, potentially eroding demand for metals. Antofagasta Plc paced a selloff in mining shares, falling 6.1 percent to 1,103 pence, while Vedanta Resources Plc lost 6.9 percent to 1,014 pence and Xstrata Plc retreated 3.9 percent to 958.8 pence.
Voestalpine AG plunged 9.2 percent to 20.84 euros after Austria’s biggest steelmaker cut its profit outlook for the full year, citing a “difficult economic environment.”
ASML Holding NV, Europe’s biggest semiconductor-equipment maker, dropped 3.2 percent to 28.65 euros after Applied Materials Inc., the world’s largest producer of semiconductor- making equipment, forecast first-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates.
U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the lowest level in a month, as concern grew that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen and lawmakers will fail to agree on plans to cut the American deficit.
Stocks fell as Reuters reported a euro-area official as saying there are no aid plans Italy from the European Financial Stability Facility. Spanish bonds sank, driving 10-year yields to the highest since the euro was introduced, as borrowing costs climbed at an auction. Republicans and Democrats on Congress’s supercommittee hardened their positions with less than a week until the deadline to propose deficit cuts.
Earlier today, economic reports helped push stocks higher. The fewest Americans in seven months filed for unemployment benefits. Builders broke ground on more homes than forecast in October and construction permits climbed to the highest level since March 2010. Another report showed that manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded less than forecast in November as orders and sales cooled.
Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, retreated 3.5 percent to $9.62. Intel Corp., the world’s biggest chipmaker, lost 2.4 percent to $24.34.
Sears Holdings Corp. slid 4.6 percent as the retailer reported a steeper loss. Retailers are having a harder time attracting shoppers, with consumer confidence at the lowest in more than two years.
Applied Materials Inc., a producer of chipmaking equipment, sank 7.5 percent as forecasts trailed estimates. Profit before certain costs will be 8 cents to 16 cents a share, the company said. Revenue will decline up to 15 percent from the prior quarter, Applied said, indicating sales of as little as $1.85 billion. Analysts on average predicted profit of 18 cents on sales of $2.07 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
NetApp Inc. tumbled 12 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $35.73 The maker of data-storage products forecast third-quarter adjusted earnings of no more than 60 cents a share, 4 cents less than the average analyst estimate.
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