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Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index set to equal its longest streak of weekly advances, after U.S. economic reports beat estimates and optimism increased that Greece will get a second debt bailout, boosting demand for riskier assets.
Nikkei 225 9,384.17 +146.07 +1.58%
Hang Seng 21,457.24 +179.96 +0.85%
S&P/ASX 200 4,195.88 +14.02 +0.34%
Shanghai Composite 2,357.18 +0.32 +0.01%
Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest carmaker by market value that generates 44 percent of its revenue in North America, rose 2.4 percent.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest lender, led financial companies higher.
Billabong International Ltd., a global surfwear maker, surged 46 percent in Sydney after confirming a takeover approach.
Bridgestone Corp, the world’s biggest tiremaker by market value, jumped 4 percent to 1,833 yen after saying it expects net income will surge 63 percent to 168 billion yen ($2.1 billion) this year on growing sales. The Japanese tire company also said it will spend about 4.7 billion yen to boost production capacity.
European stocks advanced for a third day, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to a six-month high, as investors speculated that euro-area officials are nearing an agreement on a bailout for Greece.
Germany wants the currency area’s finance ministers to avoid separating the 130 billion-euro bailout for Greece from the planned bond swap with private creditors, officials from Europe’s largest economy said in a briefing to their country’s lawmakers. The finance chiefs of the 17 nations using the single currency meet on Feb. 20 in Brussels.
The Eurogroup meeting will probably approve the package and the debt exchange, three German officials involved in the telephone briefing yesterday said. A Finance Ministry spokesman declined to comment.
National benchmarks gained in every market except Norway. France’s CAC 40 Index and Germany’s DAX index both added 1.4 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.3 percent.
A gauge of European banks advanced 1.4 percent making the biggest contribution to the Stoxx 600’s rally. Societe Generale, France’s second-largest lender, jumped 6.5 percent to 24.03 euros. Santander, Spain’s biggest bank, increased 2 percent to 6.41 euros. RBS climbed 3.2 percent to 27.6 pence and Barclays Plc added 1.4 percent to 248.35 pence. Banco Espirito Santo SA, Portugal’s largest bank, jumped 5.5 percent to 1.72 euros.
Piraeus Bank SA rallied 14 percent to 64.2 euro cents. Alpha Bank SA surged 16 percent to 1.81 euros.
Anglo American climbed 1.1 percent to 2,674 pence after the producer of metals and minerals from Africa to Brazil said that underlying earnings increased to $5.06 a share in 2011 from $4.13 a share in 2010.
Aegon NV rallied 7 percent to 3.99 euros. The Dutch insurer, which owns Transamerica Corp., said it aims to increase underlying pretax profit by 7 percent to 10 percent a year on average until 2015 and to post a return on equity of 10 percent to 12 percent. The company also reported fourth-quarter net income of 79 million euros.
U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index near the highest level in about three years, amid optimism Greece will get a bailout.
Global stocks rallied as Germany expressed confidence that euro-area governments will agree on a 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) rescue for Greece within days, while seeking to keep a bond swap of the nation’s debt on track. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos discussed plans in a conference call today and are optimistic finance ministers will resolve remaining issues when they meet on Feb. 20.
The S&P 500 has risen 8.3 percent so far this year as Europe stepped up efforts to tame its debt crisis and after reports on U.S. manufacturing, housing and jobs bolstered optimism in the world’s largest economy. Data today showed that the index of leading indicators rose in January and the cost of living climbed less than forecast, pointing to sustained economic growth with limited price pressures.
Dow 12,949.87 +45.79 +0.35%, Nasdaq 2,951.78 -8.07 -0.27%, S&P 500 1,361.23 +3.19 +0.23%
H.J. Heinz gained 4.55 percent. The company reported third-quarter earnings excluding some items of 95 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate of 85 cents.
Campbell Soup added 2.62 percent. The company reported second-quarter earnings excluding some items of 64 cents a share.
Gilead tumbled 14 percent. Among eight patients with hepatitis C genotype 1 in a clinical trial, six had a viral relapse within four weeks after stopping a 12-week treatment with the medicine, GS-7977, plus ribavirin, Gilead said today in a statement. The two other patients are two weeks out from stopping treatment, and haven’t relapsed, the company said.
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