Most Asian stocks rose with China Shipping Container Co. leading shippers higher and Olympus Corp. rebounded. China Mengniu Dairy Co., the country’s biggest milk producer, dropped for a second day after a batch of tainted milk was found.
Shares dropped as much as 0.8 percent after the publication of record lending figures by the European Central Bank highlighted the magnitude of the debt crisis. Asia’s benchmark index has fallen 18 percent in 2011, its first full-year decline since 2008. For the month, MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set to slip 0.7 percent.
PetroChina Co. added 0.4% after it started delivering gas to a Chinese pipeline from its terminal in Dalian.
China Mengniu Dairy Co., which this week said excessive levels of a toxin were found in its milk, slid after hackers broke into its website. The shares lost 7.4%, the biggest drop on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.
Elpida Memory Inc. lost 5.1%. The Japanese chipmaker may seek to delay repayment of a 30 billion yen ($386 million) government bailout received in 2009, the Asahi newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.
Olympus rose 5.4%. The stock has fallen about 60 percent since Oct. 13 amid a $1.7 billion accounting scandal.
European stocks advanced for the fourth time in five days as business activity in the U.S. expanded more than forecast.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said its business barometer decreased to 62.5 this month from 62.6 in November. Readings above 50 signal growth. Economists forecast the gauge would fall to 61, according to the median of 49 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. A U.S. Labor Department report showed that first applications for unemployment benefits increased 381,000 last week, after falling to the lowest since April 2008 in the previous period. In Europe, Italy missed its fundraising target at the auction of debt maturing between 2014 and 2022, while its borrowing costs eased. The Treasury in Rome sold 6 percent bonds due in 2014 to yield 5.62 percent, down from 7.89 percent at the previous sale on Nov. 29 and priced its 5 percent 2022 bond to yield 6.98 percent, compared with 7.56 percent on Nov. 29. The Treasury also sold bonds due in 2021 and a floating-rate security due 2018. Italy’s bond sale followed yesterday’s auction of bills, where yields fell.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 16 of the 18 Western European (SXXP) markets today.
Bayer AG increased 2.9% after filing a supplemental new drug application together with Johnson & Johnson for the Xarelto blood thinner drug to treat Acute Coronary Syndrome.
Yara International ASA rose 1.9% and Syngenta AG gained 1.1%.
Fiat retreated 0.9% after Monica Bosio, a Banca IMI analyst, cut the stock to “hold” from “add.”
Mining shares dropped as copper declined for a second day on the London Metal Exchange. Petropavlovsk Plc slid 3.2%.
U.S. stocks rose, restoring the 2011 gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as data signaled the world’s largest economy is weathering Europe’s debt crisis.
Stocks gained today as companies cranked out more goods in December and pending sales of existing homes jumped in November for a second month, pointing to a pickup in U.S. economic growth as 2011 comes to a close. The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits dropped to 375,000 on average over the past four weeks, the fewest since June 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Earlier today, equity futures swung between gains and losses after Italy auctioned 7.02 billion euros ($9 billion) of bonds, falling short of the target, as borrowing costs declined in its final debt sale of the year.
Bank of America (ВАС) rose 3.3%, after falling 5.6% percent over the previous two days. GE increased 1.4%. Alcoa (AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, advanced 1.3%.
PulteGroup, the largest homebuilder by revenue, added 6.1 percent to $6.31. Lennar climbed 4.6%.
Mosaic Co. fell less than 0.1%. The world’s largest producer of phosphate fertilizer said it will cut output by as much as 250,000 metric tons through the first quarter of 2012.