Asian stocks advanced for a third day, with the regional benchmark index heading for its highest close in three months, as manufacturing gained in the U.S. and Europe, boosting confidence the global economy is recovering. Stocks also rose as discussions between Greece and its creditors continued to progress. The Greek government is “one step from closing” a debt-swap deal with private bondholders, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters in Athens yesterday.
Nikkei 225 8,876.82 +67.03 +0.76%
Hang Seng 20,739.45 +406.08 +2.00%
S&P/ASX 200 4,267.85 +42.18 +1.00%
Shanghai Composite 2,312.56 +44.48 +1.96%
LG Electronics Inc. (066570), the world’s No. 3 maker of mobile phones, jumped 7.4 percent in Seoul. Glencore International Plc, rose 5.3 percent in Hong Kong on a report the world’s biggest publicly traded commodities trader is nearing an agreement to combine with Xstrata Plc. Lynas Corp. surged 19 percent in Sydney after the rare earths supplier won approval to start production in Malaysia.
European stocks climbed for a third day as a report showed that U.S. jobless claims dropped more than economists had estimated and Glencore International Plc held talks to buy Xstrata Plc, boosting mining companies.
In the U.S., a Labor Department report showed that applications for unemployment benefits fell last week more than economists had predicted, indicating the labor market is improving in the world’s largest economy.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 14 of the 18 western- European (SXXP) markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index added 0.1 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index gained 0.3 percent and Germany’s DAX Index advanced 0.6 percent.
Xstrata surged 9.9 percent to 1,230.5 pence after confirming that Glencore has held talks to buy the shares in the company that it doesn’t already own. Glencore’s shares soared 6.9 percent to 461.7 pence.
Novo Nordisk A/S rose 4.3 percent to 709.50 kroner after the world’s largest insulin maker posted net income that climbed to 4.69 billion kroner ($830 million) from 3.95 billion kroner a year earlier.
Benetton Group SpA surged 17 percent to 4.74 euros after the Benetton family, the company’s largest shareholder, said it will offer 276.6 million euros ($364 million) for the shares it doesn’t already own in the company. Edizione Holding SpA, which owns 67 percent of Benetton, will offer 4.60 euros a share, it said in a statement last night on the Italian bourse.
Unilever dropped 4.4 percent to 1,994 pence as the maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Lynx deodorants said it expects difficult economic conditions and elevated commodity costs to persist this year.
Most U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index higher for a second straight day, as investors awaited tomorrow’s employment report to gauge the strength of the recovery in the world’s largest economy.
A report tomorrow may show employers boosted payrolls in January by 140,000 workers and the jobless rate held at an almost three-year low of 8.5 percent. Data today showed that claims for U.S. jobless benefits fell last week and productivity cooled in the fourth quarter, signaling hiring may accelerate as companies reach the limits of how much efficiency they can wring from
Gap surged 11 percent, the biggest gain in the S&P 500, to $21.52. The San Francisco-based company said it expects fourth- quarter earnings to be as much as 42 cents per share. That beats the 35-cent estimate of 29 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. surged 24 percent, the most since March, to $66.42. The maker of Keurig brand single- cup pods and brewers reported profit that beat analysts’ estimates as sales rose.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. tumbled 14 percent, the biggest decline in the S&P 500, to $40.40. The teen apparel chain reported preliminary fourth-quarter earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates as holiday promotions narrowed profit margins.
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