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Asian stocks swung between gains and losses as increasing home sales in the U.S. added to signs the world’s biggest economy is recovering, outweighing uncertainties over continuing debt negotiations in Greece.
Canon Inc. (7751), the Japanese camera maker that gets a third of its sales from Europe, fell 1 percent in Tokyo.
Reliance Industries (RIL) Ltd., India’s biggest company by market value, sank 2.9 percent in Mumbai after earnings dropped for the first time in two years.
Olympus Corp. (7733), the world’s No. 1 maker of endoscopes, jumped 8.2 percent after it was allowed to keep its stock market listing following an accounting fraud that cut the company’s market value by about $4 billion.
European stocks climbed to a five- month high, led by a rally in banks, as Greece bargained with bondholders over debt relief and Germany floated the idea of combining Europe’s two rescue funds.
European Union finance chiefs started discussing the region’s rescue funds, Greece’s latest offer to bondholders, a German-inspired deficit-control treaty and nominees to the European Central Bank’s board today.
National benchmark indexes rose in 15 of the 18 western European markets today.
UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank, rallied 10 percent to 3.66 euros while Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, the nation’s third-biggest, surged 14 percent to 26.23 euro cents and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA climbed 5.4 percent to 1.46 euros.
Elsewhere, Commerzbank gained 13 percent to 1.95 euros in Frankfurt trading. Societe Generale SA climbed 8.6 percent to 22.80 euros in Paris, a tenth day of gains for the longest winning streak since March 2009.
Outokumpu jumped 18 percent to 7.97 euros as ThyssenKrupp said it’s in talks to merge its Inoxum stainless steel unit with the Finnish company. All options for the unit are still open, including an initial public offering, spinoff or a sale to an investor, ThyssenKrupp said.
ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s largest steelmaker, rallied 2.6 percent to 21.26 euros.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose for a fifth day, capping its longest rally since December, as energy and bank shares advanced and investors weighed developments in Europe’s efforts to tame its debt crisis.
Euro area finance ministers agreed on the region’s permanent rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism, based on Finland’s proposal. Germany and France said talks between Greece and bondholders were making progress, while a government official in Berlin said Germany may be open to combining Europe’s two bailout mechanisms and boosting their funding limit.
Bank of America jumped 2.6 percent, the biggest gain in the Dow, to $7.25. The lender, which already targeted $5 billion in expense cuts from retail and back-office operations, may reach total savings of $6 billion to $8 billion a year, Moynihan said during a Jan. 19 employee meeting.
Procter & Gamble fell 1.9 percent, the second-most in the Dow, to $65. The company was lowered to “hold” from “buy” at Stifel Nicolaus.
Research In Motion Ltd. tumbled 8.5 percent to $15.56. The BlackBerry maker shook up its top management, replacing co-Chief Executive Officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who guided the company for two decades and struggled to compete against Apple Inc. Thorsten Heins, a chief operating officer who joined RIM four years ago from Siemens AG, will replace the pair in the CEO post effective immediately.
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