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Asian stocks pared gains as Moody’s Investors Service reiterated it plans to review the credit ratings of European nations even after an agreement to tighten fiscal controls in the region and boost a bailout fund.
Europe’s leaders outlined a “fiscal compact” to prevent future debt run-ups and accelerated the start of a planned 500 billion-euro rescue fund.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased led by Olympus Corp., the endoscope maker at the center of an accounting scandal. The company’s shares jumped 7.8% after saying it will meet a Dec. 14 deadline to submit its accounts to avoid delisting.
Shares of exporters gained as confidence improved among consumers in the U.S., the world’s biggest economy. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment rose to a six-month high of 67.7 in December from 64.1 in November, beating estimates. Canon Inc. rose 1.6%. Sony Corp. added 1.3%. Samsung Electronics climbed 2.9%.
European stocks fell as Moody’s Investors Service said it will review the credit ratings of all countries in the region following last week’s debt summit.
Moody’s said it will review the ratings of all EU countries in the first quarter, saying the summit failed to deliver “decisive policy measures” to end the debt crisis. The review will be completed in the first quarter of next year.
National benchmark indexes retreated in all 18 western European markets.
Axa dropped 6.5%. Allianz SE declined 6.5%. Assicurazioni Generali SpA lost 3.9%. S&P placed all three insurers on watch negative after the ratings company started reviewing the credit scores of 15 euro- area governments on Dec. 5.
Xstrata dropped 5.6%, Kazakhmys Plc slid 6.7%, BHP Billiton Ltd. slipped 3.3%. Copper fell as much as 3% in London trading as China’s exports cooled.
STMicroelectronics NV slid 3% , while Infineon Technologies AG slumped 2.4%. Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, reduced its fourth-quarter revenue forecast by about $1 billion, citing a shortage of hard-disk drives for personal computers.
U.S. stocks fell as Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings said last week’s summit did little to ease pressure on Europe’s struggling governments and Intel Corp. (INTC) cut its revenue forecast.
Moody’s said that last week’s EU summit failed to produce “decisive policy measures” to end the region’s crisis. Equities extended losses as Fitch said a comprehensive solution has not yet been offered and predicted a “significant economic downturn” in the region.
The blue-chip Dow and the technology sector also were stung by a profit warning from bellwether Intel, which shed 4.04%.
Diamond Foods tumbled 23% after the company said it would delay its quarterly filing due to an investigation into crop payments to walnut growers, adding that it expects to get a deficiency notice from Nasdaq.
Goodyear Tire lost 2.7%. Shortages as a result of Thailand's catastrophic flooding earlier this year could spread to the market for aircraft tires as soon as February or March, the company said.
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