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Asian stocks climbed as oil headed for a second day of decline, easing concern that high prices might crimp global demand, and as Chinese banks rose after a report they are allowed to keep lending to local governments.
Nikkei 225 9,722.52 +88.59 +0.92%
Hang Seng 21,572.7 +354.84 +1.67%
S&P/ASX 200 4,262.74 -4.63 -0.11%
Shanghai Composite 2,451.86 +4.80 +0.20%
Hynix Semiconductor Inc., a South Korean chipmaker, gained 7.2 percent, the biggest gain in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP), as Japan’s Elpida Memory Inc. filed for bankruptcy.
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong’s biggest carrier, rose 3.4 percent as oil slid further from a nine-month high.
China Construction Bank Co. climbed 1.1 percent in Hong Kong. Japanese exporters fell as gains in the yen cut their earnings outlook.
European stocks climbed as a report showed that U.S. consumer confidence beat economists’ forecasts, even after durable-goods orders in the world’s largest economy unexpectedly slumped.
The ECB will allocate cash from its long-term refinancing operation tomorrow. It will probably provide 470 billion euros ($632 billion) of three-year cash.
Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, won a parliamentary vote on Greek aid after the close of European trading yesterday. She warned lawmakers that pushing Greece out of the euro risked “incalculable” damage.
Greece’s credit ratings were cut to “selective default” by Standard & Poor’s after the Mediterranean nation negotiated the biggest sovereign-debt restructuring in history. S&P lowered Greece’s rating from CC, two levels above default, after the government added clauses to its debt designed to include investors unwilling to take part in the exchange, the New York- based company said in a statement yesterday.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 12 of the 18 western- European markets. Germany’s DAX Index added 0.6 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.2 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index gained 0.4 percent. Greece’s ASE Index was the worst performing index, falling 3 percent.
KBC rallied 4.7 percent to 17.42 euros after Santander agreed to buy a unit of Belgium’s biggest bank and insurer by market value.
Belvedere SA, a French vodka maker, climbed 3.8 percent to 68.70 euros after Les Echos reported that the company plans to sell its Sobieski brand to cut debt.
Eiffage SA jumped 4.8 percent to 30.10 euros after the French builder’s rating was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at Bank of America Corp.
TomTom plunged 15 percent to 3.75 euros after forecasting that revenue and earnings per share will fall this year. Europe’s biggest maker of portable navigation devices said sales will decline to 1.1 billion euros in 2012 from 1.27 billion euros in 2011 and adjusted earnings per share will decrease to about 35 cents per share from 55 cents.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, closing above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008, after a better-than-estimated consumer confidence report bolstered optimism in the world’s largest economy.
Today’s rally put the S&P 500 on pace for a third month of gains, the longest streak in a year, amid better-than-estimated economic and corporate data. It rose 4.6 percent this month. The index trades at about 14.1 times reported earnings, compared with the average since 1954 of 16.4 times, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Stocks rose as the Conference Board’s index increased more than forecast in February, to 70.8. The euro strengthened versus the dollar before the European Central Bank provides funds tomorrow to support banks. Earlier today, stocks fell as orders for U.S. durable goods fell in January by the most in three years. Separate data showed that home prices in 20 U.S. cities dropped more than forecast in December.
Dow 13,005.12 +23.61 +0.18%, Nasdaq 2,986.76 +20.60 +0.69%, S&P 500 1,372.18 +4.59 +0.34%
Priceline added 6.97 percent. The company has weathered the European debt crisis better than rivals Expedia Inc. and Orbitz Worldwide Inc., and it’s expanding into emerging markets and new businesses such as car rentals. The number of countries Priceline serves has jumped more than 60 percent in the past year to over 160.
Apollo Group sank 16.26 percent. The for-profit educator cut its operating profit forecast for 2012 to no more than $725 million, below the previous estimate of as much as $750 million.
Southwestern Energy Co. fell 5.72 percent. The natural gas producer cut its 2012 production estimate and reported fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, missing the average analyst estimate of 47 cents.
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