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Japanese stocks fell after ratings companies said last week’s European summit did little to resolve the debt crisis that has roiled markets this year.
Moody’s Investors Service said the latest European summit didn’t produce “decisive” measures to end the crisis. Fitch Ratings said the summit did little to ease pressure on Europe’s sovereign bond ratings. Futures on the S&P 500 index were little changed today.
Exporters of cars and electronics contributed the most to the Topix’s decline. Sony fell 2.6%. Honda Motor Co. dropped 2.9%.
In China, housing transactions declined in 27 out of 35 cities tracked by Soufun Holdings Ltd. during the week of Dec. 5-11, with 13 cities seeing a drop of more than 50 percent. Transactions fell more than 60 percent in at least 4 cities, including Tianjin and Hangzhou, according to the operator of the nation’s biggest real-estate website.
Hitachi Construction fell 2.6%. Komatsu Ltd. lost 1.9%.
Japanese manufacturers of semiconductors and chipmaking equipment dropped today after Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, slashed its sales forecast.
European stocks finished session mixed as Spain sold more securities than it had planned at a debt auction and a report showed that investor confidence in Germany improved.
Stocks pared an advance as Reuters reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected increasing the upper limit for the funds held by Europe’s planned permanent rescue facility, citing sources in Merkel’s ruling coalition. The gauge has still declined 14 percent this year amid concern the euro area’s sovereign-debt debt crisis will derail the global economic recovery.
The ZEW Center for European Economic Research said that its index of German investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict developments six months in advance, posted a reading of minus 53.8 in December. That was better than the median estimate of economists.
Spain sold 4.94 billion euros ($6.5 billion) of 12- and 18- month bills, the Bank of Spain said, compared with the maximum target of 4.25 billion euros the Treasury set for the sale.
A U.S. Commerce Department report showed that retail sales in the world’s largest economy increased 0.2 percent in November, a slower pace than the 0.6 percent rate that economists had predicted.
Shell rose 2.1%, BP advanced 1.7%. Crude oil briefly surged above $100 a barrel.
Commerzbank AG sank 4.6%.
U.S. stocks retreated, reversing an earlier advance, after Federal Reserve policy makers refrained from taking new actions to bolster growth at the world’s largest economy.
Eight out of nine groups in the S&P declined, led by companies most-dependent on economic growth.
The central bank said it would continue its exchange of $400 billion of short-term debt with long-term securities to lengthen the average maturity of its holdings, a move dubbed Operation Twist. The Fed also did not alter its policy of reinvesting its portfolio of maturing housing debt into agency mortgage-backed securities.