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Asian stocks rose, with a regional benchmark index set to extend its longest streak of weekly advances since 2010, after U.S. unemployment unexpectedly fell, boosting the earnings outlook for Asian exporters.
Nikkei 225 8,929.2 +97.27 +1.10%
Hang Seng 20,709.94 -47.04 -0.23%
S&P/ASX 200 4,295.99 +44.81 +1.05%
Shanghai Composite 2,331.14 +0.73 +0.03%
Nikon Corp., a maker of cameras and lenses that gets more than a quarter of its revenue from North America, jumped 11 percent in Tokyo after raising its full-year operating profit forecast.
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company, gained 1.6 percent in Sydney after commodity prices increased.
Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s third-biggest lender by market value, dropped 1.8 percent amid concern that a worsening of Europe's crisis will hurt China’s economic growth.
European stocks dropped, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index trimming a six-month high, as Greece struggled to reach a deal with its international creditors.
Greece’s Prime Minister Lucas Papademos struck a tentative deal with the leaders of the three parties supporting his interim government to boost economic competitiveness and extend spending cuts. The politicians agreed in a five-hour meeting yesterday to make additional reductions this year equal to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product.
The policy makers meet tomorrow to work on the detail of plans for bank recapitalizations, ensuring the viability of pension funds and measures to reduce wage and non-wage costs to boost competitiveness.
The euro area’s debt crisis will cut China’s economic expansion almost in half if it worsens, a scenario that would warrant “significant” fiscal stimulus from the nation’s government, the International Monetary Fund said.
National benchmark indexes declined in 15 of the 18 western-European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.2 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index declined 0.7 percent, while Germany’s DAX Index fell less than 0.1 percent.
Copper declined on the London Metal Exchange after the IMF released its growth prediction for the world’s largest consumer of the metal. Vedanta, India’s biggest copper producer, slid 3.1 percent to 1,317 pence and Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third- largest mining company, fell 1.1 percent to 3,946 pence.
Glencore retreated 4.5 percent to 460.75 pence as the Financial Times reported that the company may offer an 8 percent premium over Xstrata’s closing share price on Feb. 1. The newspaper cited people familiar with the merger discussions. Xstrata declined 1.7 percent to 1,261.5 pence in London.
Societe Generale slid 2.9 percent to 23.55 euros, while Credit Agricole fell 2.7 percent to 5.18 euros.
U.S. stocks declined, snapping a three-day rally for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, amid concern about Europe’s debt crisis as Greek leaders wrestled with spending cuts to get aid and avert a default.
European leaders stepped up pressure on Greek politicians to meet the conditions of a 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) bailout, saying time was running out. French President Nicolas Sarkozy met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris today as Greece’s interim prime minister, Lucas Papademos, planned to confer with the so-called troika of international lenders in Athens. A gathering of Greek political leaders was delayed by a day until tomorrow as they struggled for a unified response.
Dow 12,845.13 -17.10 -0.13%, Nasdaq 2,901.99 -3.67 -0.13%, S&P 500 1,344.33 -0.57 -0.04%
Boeing (ВА) dropped 1.15 percent. There is no “short- term safety concern” from the fault, which was caused by an incorrect assembly in a support structure within the plane’s aft fuselage, Scott Lefeber, a spokesman, said yesterday in a statement. The new checks add to the challenges in boosting output of the twin-engine 787, which entered service in 2011 after than three years of delays.
Humana fell 5.4 percent. The company says it may add about 40,000 more Medicare Advantage members in 2012 than previously expected. The increase will help overcome an anticipated increase in demand for medical services.
Micron retreated 2.83 percent. The shares fell 3.1 percent to $7.70 in late trading Feb. 3, after having been halted at $7.95. Durcan, who joined Micron in 1984, had been scheduled to hand over his role as chief operating officer to Mark Adams in August. Adams, head of sales, was named company president.
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