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Asian stocks fell for a fifth day, the longest streak in almost four months, amid concern economic growth in Asia is slowing and U.S. lawmakers may fail to agree on measures to cut the nation’s budget deficit.
The deficit-cutting U.S. congressional supercommittee is expected to announce today that it has failed to reach agreement on at least $1.2 trillion in federal budget savings, a Democratic aide said. The aide, who wasn’t authorized to discuss internal matters publicly and requested anonymity, said in an e- mail that it was highly unlikely that the talks could be salvaged.
Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann said Europe needs a “firewall” to prevent its debt crisis from spreading and should increase the size of its rescue fund. In Spain, conservative Mariano Rajoy swept the Socialists out of power with the biggest parliamentary majority in an election in almost 30 years. He told Spaniards to brace themselves as the nation fights to avoid being overwhelmed by the debt crisis.
“Weakness” in China’s stocks may last until the end of the year as the government is unlikely to introduce more “powerful” measures to fine-tune economic policies, according to Citic Securities Co. Sentiment will be negative as investors begin to worry about slumping property sales and the pace of new share sales, Liu Haobo, an analyst at the brokerage, wrote in a report today.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index (FSSTI) declined 1.2 percent, the lowest close in a month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index sank 1.4 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 0.3 percent.
Longfor Properties Co., the developer controlled by China’s richest woman, Wu Yajun, tumbled 5.4 percent to HK$7.89. China State Construction International Holdings Ltd. sank 9 percent to HK$4.97.
Genting Singapore, which operates casinos, slumped 2.6 percent to S$1.50. CapitaLand, a developer that gets about 36 percent of its revenue from the city-state, fell 2.3 percent to S$2.56.
Singapore’s economy will grow 1 percent to 3 percent in 2012, the trade ministry said in a statement. Non-oil domestic exports will probably rise 2 percent to 3 percent in 2011, lower than a previous forecast for shipments to grow 6 percent to 7 percent, the trade promotion agency said in a separate statement today.
Fanuc declined 2.1 percent to 12,180 yen. Japan’s export shipments dropped 3.7 percent in October from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 0.3 percent decline.
Osaka Securities Exchange Co. climbed 1.8 percent to 421,000 yen. The company and the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the nation’s two largest bourses, agreed to merge and are set to announce the deal tomorrow, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
Elpida tumbled 7.3 percent to 319 yen. Advantest Corp., the world’s biggest maker of memory-chip testers, lost 4.5 percent to 810 yen. Japan’s October chip-equipment orders declined 33 percent from a year ago to 81.2 billion yen ($1 billion), according to a Nov. 18 statement from the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan.
European stocks dropped the most in three weeks amid signs U.S. lawmakers may fail to reach an agreement on budget cuts, raising the prospect the world’s largest economy could face another credit downgrade.
The U.S. deficit-cutting congressional supercommittee will probably announce that it has failed to agree on $1.2 trillion of federal budget savings, a Democratic aide said in an e-mail. The aide, who wasn’t authorized to discuss internal matters publicly and requested anonymity, said that it was highly unlikely that the talks could be salvaged. Today is the deadline for the Congressional Budget Office to receive a plan that it can analyze before the committee’s Nov. 23 target date for reaching an agreement. S&P downgraded the U.S. on Aug. 5 to AA+ from AAA.
In Spain, Mariano Rajoy won the biggest parliamentary majority in an election in almost 30 years, and told Spaniards to brace for difficult times as the nation fights to avoid being overwhelmed by the sovereign-debt crisis.
Shares also fell as Moody’s Investors Service warned that rising French bond yields increased the fiscal challenges facing the nation with “negative credit implications.” The rating company declined to comment on a report in Le Figaro newspaper that France’s AAA credit rating is at risk.
National benchmark indexes retreated in all 18 markets in western Europe. France’s CAC 40 Index and Germany’s DAX Index lost 3.4 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index dropped 2.6 percent. Greece’s ASE Index sank 3.7 percent as the country’s new Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Barroso in Brussels today.
KBC led bank shares lower, slumping 13 percent to 9.46 euros in Brussels, as the three-month cross-currency basis swap, the rate banks pay to convert euro payments into dollars, widened for a sixth day and bond yields climbed in Spain, Italy and Belgium. Commerzbank AG plunged 6.8 percent to 1.36 euros, BNP Paribas SA slid 4.3 percent to 26.85 euros and Barclays Plc dropped 5.4 percent to 157.5 pence.
Rio Tinto Group slid 5.9 percent to 3,083 pence and Total SA lost 2.9 percent to 36.02 euros, pacing gauges of mining and energy companies lower. Copper and oil fell for a third day as Japan’s exports dropped and Singapore warned its economy may grow 1 percent to 3 percent in 2012 after expanding 5 percent this year.
Carrefour SA slipped 3.2 percent after the retailer’s largest shareholders were said to consider replacing its chairman and chief executive officer.
Adidas AG declined 3.2 percent to 48.69 euros after Welt am Sonntag reported the world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker will increase prices in 2012 because of higher raw-material prices and wage costs.
Statoil ASA slid 3.1 percent to 140.90 kroner even after Norway’s national oil company agreed to sell stakes in fields to Centrica Plc for $1.6 billion. Statoil will dispose of stakes in eight fields on the Norwegian continental shelf, it said. Centrica’s shares lost 1 percent to 286.1 pence.
U.S. stocks slumped, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its longest decline since September, amid concern the U.S. government will be forced to submit to $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts. Today is the deadline for the Congressional Budget Office to receive information for scoring a proposal in advance of the supercommittee’s Nov. 23 target date for reaching a deal. The 12-member bipartisan supercommittee likely will announce today that it can’t reach agreement on deficit savings, according to a Democratic aide.
U.S. shares joined European equities in retreating. France’s rising financing costs are increasing the nation’s fiscal challenges, according to report issued by Moody’s Investors Service. Germany’s Finance Ministry said the country’s expansion is “noticeably slower” this quarter.
Dow 11,547.31 -248.85 -2.11%, Nasdaq 2,523.14 -49.36 -1.92%, S&P 500 1,192.98 -22.67 -1.86%
All 10 industries in the benchmark measure declined as 468 out of 500 companies retreated. Financial, industrial and technology shares had the biggest losses in the S&P 500 among 10 groups today, slumping at least 1.9 percent. Bank of America Corp. tumbled 5 percent to pace losses in financial shares. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) dropped at least 2.9 percent.
Gilead Sciences tumbled 9.1 percent to $36.26, while Pharmasset soared 85 percent to $134.14. Gilead agreed to buy Pharmasset, betting that its experimental hepatitis C treatments will lead the next generation of therapies in a market that may reach $20 billion by 2020.
Focus Media Holding Ltd. plummeted 39 percent to $15.43 after Muddy Waters LLC, the short-selling firm known for prompting Sino-Forest Corp.’s retreat, recommended betting against the digital advertising company. Today’s report said Focus Media has fewer television screens in its ad network than it says and may have overpaid for takeovers to mask losses.
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