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Asian stocks rose, with the region’s benchmark index headed for a six-month high, after China pledged to help resolve Europe’s debt crisis. Chipmakers outside Japan rallied after debt-laden rival Elpida Memory Inc. said it may not survive.
Nikkei 225 9,260.34 +208.27 +2.30%
Hang Seng 21,365.23 +447.40 +2.14%
S&P/ASX 200 4,253.4 +10.57 +0.25%
Shanghai Composite 2,366.7 +21.93 +0.94%
Cosco Pacific Ltd., which operates container facilities at Greece’s Piraeus port, added 4.5 percent in Hong Kong.
Samsung Electronics Co. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. advanced as Elpida touched its lowest price in at least eight years.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. advanced for a second day after the Bank of Japan expanded its bond purchases.
Westfield Group (WDC) climbed 5.3 percent in Sydney after the shopping mall operator reported a five-fold jump in profit.
European stocks rose as China said it will help resolve the region’s debt crisis and companies from BNP Paribas SA to Heineken NV reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates.
China offered to invest in Europe’s bailout funds and sustain its holdings of euro assets. The commitment offers an incentive to European finance ministers, who are increasing pressure on Greece to deliver budget cuts in exchange for a second bailout.
Euro-area finance ministers postponed a decision slated for tonight on Greek aid totaling 130 billion euros ($171 billion) until at least Feb. 20 and possibly until after a full-time government emerges from the nation’s elections later this year. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that Europe’s wealthier countries are “playing with fire” by toying with the idea of expelling it from the euro area.
Europe’s economy shrank less than economists forecast in the fourth quarter after better-than-predicted performance in Germany and France. Gross domestic product in the 17-nation euro area fell 0.3 percent from the prior three months, the first drop since the second quarter of 2009, the European Union’s statistics office said today.
National benchmark indexes gained in 12 of the 18 western European markets today. France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX rose 0.4 percent each, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1 percent.
BNP Paribas rallied 4.1 percent to 34.89 euros as fourth- quarter net income declined to 765 million euros from 1.55 billion euros a year earlier. Societe Generale SA rose 2.2 percent to 22.38 euros after three days of losses. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA rallied 11 percent to 33.64 euro cents and UniCredit SpA climbed 2.2 percent to 4.16 euros.
Heineken advanced 3.7 percent to 37.90 euros after the brewer reported increased annual profit and unveiled new cost- saving targets. Earnings before interest and taxes in 2011 rose 2.8 percent to 2.7 billion euros, excluding some one-time items, the Amsterdam-based maker of Amstel said.
TUI AG, the owner of Europe’s largest travel company, rose 3.5 percent to 6.43 euros after saying it will sell a stake in Hapag-Lloyd and may dispose of its remaining holding in the shipper in an initial public offering.
Puma SE rose 3.1 percent to 247.25 euros after Europe’s second-largest sporting goods maker reported profit that beat analysts’ estimates and its own projection and forecast growth in sales and earnings in each of the next two years.
U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lower for a second day, as concern grew that Greece was moving closer to default and the Federal Reserve said policy makers were divided on buying more assets.
Stocks fell today as concern that Greece will miss a debt payment next month grew as a decision slated for tonight on 130 billion euros ($171 billion) of aid was postponed until at least Feb. 20 and possibly until after a full-time Greek government emerges from elections later in the year. Minutes of the Fed’s last meeting showed a few policy makers said the central bank may have to consider purchasing more securities soon, while others said the economic outlook would have to worsen.
Equities gained earlier today as China said it will “get more involved” in supporting Europe and sustain its holdings of euro assets, spurring optimism the debt crisis will be overcome.
Dow 12,780.95 -97.33 -0.76%, Nasdaq 2,915.83 -16.00 -0.55%, S&P 500 1,343.23 -7.27 -0.54%\
Zynga Inc. retreated 18 percent to $11.80. The biggest developer of games for Facebook Inc.’s site fell the most since it first started trading after product-development costs weighed on profit in the fourth quarter.
Dean Foods Co. rallied 10 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $11.99. The biggest U.S. milk processor reported lower raw- milk costs at its fresh dairy business.
Kellogg Co. jumped 5.1 percent to $52.87 after agreeing to acquire Procter & Gamble Co. (PG)’s Pringles potato chip business for about $2.7 billion in cash to triple its global snacks sales after a deal with Diamond Foods Inc. fell through.
Comcast Corp. added 4.7 percent to $28.52. The largest U.S. cable company climbed after fourth-quarter profit rose more than analysts estimated and video-customer losses narrowed for the fifth straight period.
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