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Asian stocks rose, with a regional benchmark index headed for its second-biggest monthly rally since September 2010, as Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said major progress was made in debt-swap talks and Japan’s industrial production grew faster than economists estimated. Greece aims to complete debt-swap talks with bondholders by the end of this week, Papademos told reporters after the European Union summit in Brussels.
Nikkei 225 8,803 +9.46 +0.11%
Hang Seng 20,390 +230.08 +1.14%
S&P/ASX 200 4,263 -10.06 -0.24%
Shanghai Composite 2,293 +7.57 +0.33%
Fanuc Corp., Japan’s top maker of factory robots, added 1 percent.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second- largest lender by market value, rose 1.5 after saying it will meet its full-year profit forecast.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the world’s third-biggest shipyard, jumped 6.5 percent after winning a $560 million contract to supply tankers to Kuwait Oil Tanker Co.
European stocks rose, posting their best monthly start to a year since 1998, as most countries in the region agreed to tighter budget controls, outweighing worse- than-estimated economic data.
European Union leaders, meeting in Brussels yesterday, agreed on a fiscal-discipline treaty that allows for sanctions on high-deficit states and requires members to enact laws to limit budget shortfalls. Britain and the the Czech Republic refused to sign the pact.
The policy makers also decided to bring the region’s permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, into operation on July 1, a year before schedule.
Greece aims to complete debt-swap talks with bondholders this week. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told reporters after summit that he is “strongly committed” to reaching a deal.
German unemployment dropped more than economists forecast to a two-decade low in January. The number of people out of work fell a seasonally adjusted 34,000 to 2.85 million, the Federal Labor Agency said. That’s the biggest drop since March.
National benchmark indexes rose in 15 of the 18 western European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.2 percent, Germany’s DAX advanced 0.2 percent, and France’s CAC 40 gained 1 percent.
Oil gained after the December industrial output rose more than forecast in Japan, the third-biggest crude consumer. BP, Europe’s second-largest oil producer, gained 2.7 percent to 470.85 pence. Shell and Total SA gained 0.5 percent to 2,240.5 pence and 1.5 percent to 40.41 euros, respectively.
ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s largest steelmaker, rose 2.7 percent to 21.67 euros in Frankfurt after agreeing to sell its Inoxum stainless steel unit to Outokumpu Oyj. The deal valued the German company’s unit at about 2.7 billion euros. ThyssenKrupp will retain a 29.9 percent stake in the business, receive 1 billion euros in cash, and transfer liabilities of 422 million euros for Inoxum to Outokumpu. Outokumpu fell 15 percent to 6.27 euros in Helsinki.
ARM Holdings jumped 2 percent to 609.5 pence. The maker of processors for Apple Inc.’s iPads and iPhones said fourth- quarter revenue climbed 21 percent as the company increased the number of licenses sold for smartphones and tablet computers.
U.S. stocks fell for a fourth day, the longest streak for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since August, as reports showed consumer confidence trailed economists’ projections and business activity cooled. Stocks erased early gains as reports showed that consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped in January and a gauge of business activity fell, underscoring forecasts that the U.S. economy will cool after expanding at the fastest pace since the second quarter 2010. Earlier gains were triggered after most countries in Europe agreed to tighter budget controls and Greece made progress on debt talks.
Dow 12,632.91 -20.81 -0.16%, Nasdaq 2,813.84 +1.90 +0.07%, S&P 500 1,312.40 -0.61 -0.05%
Stocks pared earlier losses as financial shares rallied. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. added at least 1.5 percent.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) dropped 2.1 percent, the biggest decline in the Dow, to $83.74. Revenue rose 16 percent to $121.6 billion during the quarter, less than the $124.4 billion average of five analysts’ estimates.
ADM sank 3.6 percent to $28.63. The company, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patricia Woertz, has missed analysts’ estimates for three straight quarters. Operating profit at the agricultural-services unit, the company’s largest segment by revenue in fiscal 2011, fell 63 percent to $158 million after U.S. grain exports declined because of a smaller domestic crop and “adequate” global supplies, ADM said.
RadioShack Corp. tumbled 30 percent to $7.18 after the consumer-electronics retailer suspended share repurchases and reported preliminary fourth-quarter earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates.
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