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Asian stocks fell for a third day, with the regional benchmark index (CRY) headed for the lowest close in a month, amid concern about a Greece debt-swap deal and after reports showed European gross domestic product contracted and Australia’s economy grew less than forecast.
Nikkei 225 9,576.06 -61.57 -0.64%
Hang Seng 20,628.91 -177.34 -0.85%
S&P/ASX 200 4,143.66 -61.07 -1.45%
Shanghai Composite 2,394.79 -15.65 -0.65%
Sony Corp., Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, slid 2.4 percent. Newcrest Mining Ltd. lost 3.8 percent in Sydney as metal prices dropped.
China Life Insurance Co. slumped 5.4 percent in Hong Kong after saying profit may have fallen by half last year.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the most actively traded stock by volume in the regional benchmark index today, plunged after saying a lock-up period barring the sale of its shares had ended, giving Goldman Sachs Group Inc. the right to sell its stake.
European stocks rose, rebounding from yesterday’s biggest drop since November, after a report showed hiring in U.S. companies accelerated and as investors with more than half of Greek bonds agreed to a debt swap.
Investors holding a total of at least 120 billion euros ($157 billion), or 58 percent of the Greek bonds eligible for the nation’s debt swap, have so far indicated they will participate in the biggest-ever sovereign restructuring. The offer, which ends at 10 p.m. Athens time tomorrow, aims to reduce the the 206 billion euros of privately held Greek debt by 53.5 percent.
German factory orders unexpectedly declined in January. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, fell 2.7 percent from December, when they gained 1.6 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said.
National benchmark indexes rose in 14 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 added 0.9 percent. Germany’s DAX climbed 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent.
Deutsche Boerse AG, blocked from buying NYSE Euronext by European regulators last month, advanced 2.3 percent to 47.01 euros, the most since Feb. 20. UBS AG recommended buying the stock saying concerns over the impact of financial transaction tax are overdone.
Thales SA added 2.7 percent to 27.09 euros after reporting full-year net income of 566 million euros, more than analysts’ estimates of 455 million euros.
Adidas, the world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker, declined 3 percent to 56 euros after saying it saw 2012 net income-target between 736 million euros to 770 million euros, missing analysts’ estimates.
U.S. stocks advanced, following the biggest decline in 2012 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, after a private report showed American companies increased hiring and more investors signed on to a Greek debt swap.
Equities extended gains as the Wall Street Journal said the Fed would print new money to buy long-term mortgage or Treasury bonds, then effectively tie up that money by borrowing it back for short periods at low rates.
Dow 12,837.33 +78.18 +0.61%, Nasdaq 2,935.69 +25.37 +0.87%, S&P 500 1,352.63 +9.27 +0.69%
Financial shares, which yesterday had the biggest loss among 10 groups in the S&P 500, led the gains today. Bank of America (ВАС) rose 4 percent, the most in the Dow, to $8.02. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) advanced 1.6 percent to $39.95.
Industrial shares had the second-biggest gain in the S&P 500. Caterpillar (САТ) advanced 2.2 percent to $108.28. United Technologies Corp. climbed 1.5 percent to $82.57.
General Electric Co. (GE) increased 1.9 percent to $18.77. The world’s biggest maker of jet engines, power generation equipment, health-care imaging equipment and locomotives reiterated its forecast of earnings growth of at least 10 percent from industrial and capital units this year.
Ciena Corp. surged 4.2 percent to $14.01. The maker of network equipment for phone companies forecast fiscal second- quarter revenue that topped some analysts’ estimates. Ciena, which last month said first-quarter results would suffer from delays in recording international sales, today predicted stronger operating results in the second half of the year.
Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) fell 1.2 percent to $37.83 for the biggest decline in the Dow. The company was cut to “hold” from “buy” by Jefferies Group Inc., which said the stock has little incentive to outperform this year.
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