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Asian stocks fell and the regional benchmark index pared weekly gains as higher borrowing costs in a French bond auction stoked concern Europe’s debt crisis is deepening, overshadowing improving economic data in the U.S.
Nikkei 225 8,489 -71.40 -0.83%
Hang Seng 18,813 +86.10 +0.46%
S&P/ASX 200 4,143 -45.16 -1.08%
Shanghai Composite 2,148 -20.94 -0.97%
Companies that do businesses in Europe declined. HSBC fell 2.1 percent to HK$59.40 in Hong Kong. Esprit Holdings Ltd. (330), a clothier that counts Europe as its biggest market, slipped 1.8 percent to HK$10.08. Sony Corp. (6758), which depends on the market for a fifth of its sales, lost 2 percent to 1,345 yen.
Makers of computer memory chips dropped after Nomura cut its forecast for 2012 growth in global shipments of dynamic random access memory to 2.7 percent from 3.7 percent.
Elpida sank 5.4 percent to 331 yen in Tokyo. Powerchip Technology Corp. (5346), a Taiwanese producer of memory chips, slumped 6.7 percent to 97 Taiwanese cents.
Samsung Electronics Co., Asia’s biggest maker of computer memory chips by sales, slipped 1.4 percent to 1.04 million won in Seoul even as the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates.
European stocks closed little changed as a report showed U.S. employers added more jobs than economists had predicted.
U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs last month, following a revised 100,000 gain in November that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009, while hours worked and earnings climbed.
Euro-area consumer confidence fell to the lowest in more than two years and unemployment remained at a 13-year high, according to data released today.
National benchmark indexes declined in 12 of the 14 western European markets open today. Germany’s DAX Index slipped 0.6 percent and France’s CAC 40 retreated 0.2 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.5 percent. Markets were closed in Greece, Finland, Sweden and Austria for a holiday.
BMW and Daimler each slid 1.1 percent respectively. Automakers fell 0.7 percent, among the largest drop of 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
UniCredit tumbled 11 percent, the lowest level since 1992, after Italy’s biggest bank priced a 7.5 billion-euro ($9.6 billion) rights offer at a discount on Jan. 4. The Italian market regulator, Consob, said yesterday that it’s investigating the share move to verify whether its ban on short selling in financial stocks has been respected.
Man Group Plc fell 8.4 percent, the lowest in 11 years, after analysts cut their earnings estimates on the world’s biggest publicly traded hedge-fund manager.
Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s largest mobile-phone operator, climbed 1.2 percent to 179.5 pence after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded the shares to “buy” from “neutral,” saying a merger between the British company and Verizon Communications Inc. may be “attractive.”
U.S. stocks fell as better-than- forecast jobs growth and a drop in the unemployment rate failed to extend a weekly rally and lift the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index above its October high.
U.S. employers added 200,000 workers to payrolls in December, Labor Department figures showed in Washington, more than the 155,000 gain projected in a Bloomberg News survey. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009. The growth in payrolls did not beat estimates by as wide a margin as data from ADP Employer Services yesterday that helped trigger gains in equities.
Equities also dropped earlier as German factory orders fell 4.8 percent, the biggest decline in almost three years, fueling concern that Europe was heading into a recession.
Dow 12,359.92 -55.78 -0.45%, Nasdaq 2,674.22 +4.36 +0.16%, S&P 500 1,277.81 -3.25 -0.25%
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) lost 2.1 percent after surging 8.6 percent yesterday.
Alcoa Inc. (АА), due to start the earnings season on Jan. 9, slid 2.1 percent after saying it will close 12 percent of its global smelting capacity.
Family Dollar Stores Inc. fell 7.5 percent to $53.63 for the biggest retreat in the S&P 500. The discount retailer reported fiscal first-quarter revenue of $2.15 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $2.17 billion. Comparable store sales increased 4.1 percent, compared with the average analyst estimate of 4.9 percent.
J.C. Penney advanced 3.5 percent to $34.96 after being raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Macquarie Group Ltd. The third-largest department-store chain lost 2.7 percent yesterday after cutting its fourth-quarter profit forecast, citing declining sales and deeper discounts than anticipated during the holiday season.
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