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Asian stocks rose on the first full trading day of the new year after economic reports in the U.S. Germany and India raised optimism global growth will bolster the outlook for earnings in the face of Europe’s debt crisis.
Premier Wen Jiabao said business conditions in China may be “relatively difficult” for the mainland this quarter, citing continued inflation and weakened overseas demand.
Asian exporters advanced after a reports showed German unemployment fell more than forecast last month and U.S. factory output grew in December at the fastest pace in six months. R.L. Polk & Co., a research company based in Michigan, estimated the number of cars and light trucks sold globally will increase 6.7 percent this year.
James Hardie Industries, a supplier of building materials that gets 68 percent of its sales from the U.S., climbed 2.5 percent in Sydney.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. led a rally among carmakers on a report that Chinese demand will lift global auto sales this year.
Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s third- largest automaker, rose 1 percent.
Nomura Holdings Inc. jumped 6.9 percent after SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. said Japan’s biggest brokerage probably returned to profit last quarter.
European stocks retreated from a five-month high as UniCredit rights offer boosted concern that banks will need to raise more capital to weather the region’s debt crisis.
Germany got bids for 5.14 billion euros ($6.7 billion) of 10-year bunds at an auction, more than the maximum sales target of 5 billion euros. The debt agency accepted bids for 4.06 billion euros at an average yield of 1.93 percent. Portugal’s borrowing costs fell at a sale of 1 billion euros of three-month bills.
National benchmark indexes fell in all of Europe’s 18 western markets, except Iceland and Switzerland. France’s CAC 40 Index dropped 1.6 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.6 percent and Germany’s DAX Index lost 0.9 percent.
UniCredit tumbled 14 percent, the largest decline since at least 1988, as the bank said it will sell shares at 1.943 euros apiece to raise 7.5 billion euros. The rights offer is a 43 percent discount to yesterday’s closing price, excluding the value of rights.
Vestas sank 19 percent, the lowest price since 2003, after cutting its earnings forecasts and saying it will announce a significant change to its corporate structure on Jan. 12.
Next dropped 3.1 percent after it reported sales that missed analyst estimates as growth in online revenue failed to offset lower store sales during a period that included the peak Christmas holiday season.
Larger rival Marks & Spencer Group Plc sank 2.6 percent. Home Retail Group Plc, the owner of Homebase outlets in the U.K., slumped 3.5 percent.
Qiagen NV the German biotechnology company, increased 3.2 percent as analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised the stock to “overweight” from “neutral.”
U.S. stocks erased an early loss to finish little changed, leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the highest level since July, as improving sales at retailers and carmakers helped offset lower-than-forecast factory orders.
U.S. equities fell earlier today as bookings for factory goods rose 1.8 percent after a revised 0.2 percent drop the prior month, data from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington.
Ford Motor Co. rose 1.5 percent after carmakers reported December sales that beat analysts’ estimates, capping the industry’s best year since 2008.
Home Depot Inc. (HD), Lowe’s Cos. and Starbucks Corp. advanced at least 1.4 percent after the International Council of Shopping Centers increased its estimate for December retail-sales growth.
Yahoo! Inc. lost 3.1 percent after appointing Scott Thompson chief executive officer.
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