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06.03.2012 08:20

Stocks: Monday’s review

Asian stocks fell, paring gains from last week that saw the benchmark index post its longest weekly winning streak on record, after China said it will target the slowest economic growth since 2004.

Nikkei 225 9,698.59 -78.44 -0.80%

Hang Seng 21,265.31 -296.95 -1.38%

S&P/ASX 200 4,262.97 -10.14 -0.24%

Shanghai Composite 2,445 -15.69 -0.64%

China Construction Bank Corp., the nation’s No. 2 lender by market value, slid 2 percent. It was the biggest drag on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.

The third-largest drag was BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company, which fell 0.8 percent in Sydney as metal prices dropped.

Hiwin Technologies Corp., a ball-bearing maker, declined 6.9 percent in Taipei after saying its February unconsolidated sales slumped 23 percent from a year earlier.

European stocks dropped, snapping two days of gains, as China cut its forecast for economic growth this year and data showed manufacturing and services in the euro area shrank more than estimated.

China reduced its growth target to 7.5 percent this year, the lowest goal since 2004, according to a transcript of Premier Wen Jiabao’s address to the National People’s Congress. The government will also aim for inflation of about 4 percent this year, unchanged from its goal in 2011.

Stocks extended declines after euro-area services and manufacturing output shrank in February more than economists had estimated as the region’s economy struggled to rebound from a contraction in the fourth quarter of last year.

A euro-area composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries dropped to 49.3 from 50.4 in January, London-based Markit Economics said today. That was below an initial figure of 49.7 published on Feb. 22. A reading of less than 50 means the measure contracted.

National benchmark indexes declined in every western- European (SXXP) market except Switzerland and Iceland today. France’s CAC 40 Index (CAC) slipped 0.4 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell 0.6 percent. Germany’s DAX Index (DAX) lost 0.8 percent.

Rio Tinto dropped 3.9 percent to 3,422 pence, BHP Billiton Ltd. fell 2.9 percent to 1,971 pence and Vedanta Resources Plc slid 3.7 percent to 1,400 pence. Copper declined for a second day in London after China cut its target for economic growth.

Salzgitter sank 5.4 percent to 42.88 euros after the German steelmaker said it was “impossible” to provide an earnings forecast because the euro area’s sovereign-debt crisis remains a major risk.

Kloeckner & Co, Europe’s largest independent steel trader, dropped 3.3 percent to 11.23 euros.

Weir Group Plc retreated 4.7 percent to 1,939 pence as Citigroup Inc. downgraded the world’s biggest maker of pumps for the mining industry to “sell” from “neutral.”

BP climbed 1.6 percent to 504.6 pence, limiting the Stoxx 600’s slide, after Europe’s second-largest oil producer reached a deal with private plaintiffs -- the businesses and individuals harmed by the 2010 oil spill.

U.S. stocks fell, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest two-day loss since January, as China cut its economic growth target and orders to American factories decreased for the first time in three months.

Equities joined a global slump as China pared its growth target to 7.5 percent from an 8 percent goal in place since 2005. In the U.S., data on orders to factories signaled manufacturing is cooling. Bookings fell 1 percent in January after a revised 1.4 percent gain in December that was larger than previously estimated.

Dow 12,962.81 -14.76 -0.11%, Nasdaq 2,950.48 -25.71 -0.86%, S&P 500 1,364.33 -5.30 -0.39%

Companies most-tied to the economy slumped, sending the Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index down 1.3 percent. Alcoa (АА), the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, lost 3.6 percent to $9.87. Caterpillar (САТ), the largest construction and mining-equipment maker, slid 2.1 percent to $110.09.

Bank of America (ВАС) slumped 2 percent to $7.97. Citigroup lost 1.2 percent to $33.68 after naming board member Michael O’Neill to be chairman to succeed Richard Parsons, who is stepping down after overseeing the company’s recovery from near-collapse in 2008.

Zynga Inc. tumbled 4.9 percent to $13.97. The biggest developer of games for social-networking sites was cut to neutral from overweight by JPMorgan Chase & Co., meaning the shares are expected to perform in line with the stocks the analyst covers over the next six-to-twelve months.

MetroPCS Communications Inc. decreased 5.7 percent to $9.96, while Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP) retreated 7.5 percent to $9.76. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. cut its recommendation for the shares.

Big Lots Inc. climbed 3.4 percent to $44.15. The discount retailer was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Northcoast Research. The 12-month share-price estimate is $53.

06.03.2012 08:46

Forex: Monday’s review

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