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Asian stocks swung between gains and losses as U.S. jobs and manufacturing data added to signs the world’s biggest economy is recovering. Gains were limited as Japanese exporters fell amid a rebound in the yen.
Nikkei 225 10,129.83 +6.55 +0.06%
Hang Seng 21,317.85 -35.68 -0.17%
S&P/ASX 200 4,276.16 -1.61 -0.04%
Shanghai Composite 2,404.74 +30.96 +1.30%
Li & Fung Ltd. rose 3.1 percent in Hong Kong after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended buying shares of supplier to Wal- Mart Stores Inc.
Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest carmaker by market value, dropped 0.6 percent.
Hyundai Wia Corp. slumped 5.1 percent in Seoul after South Korean automakers sold shares in the parts manufacturer at a discount.
European stocks posted their biggest weekly rally since early February as reports from the U.S. to Germany indicated growth is gaining pace and the Federal Reserve raised its assessment of the world’s biggest economy.
In Germany, the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said on March 13 its index of investor and analyst expectations, which seeks to predict economic developments six months in advance, rose to 22.3 from 5.4 in February. That was the fourth straight increase.
The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits fell by 14,000 to 351,000 in the week ended March 10, U.S. Labor Department figures showed on March 15. That matched a four-year low, first reached a month earlier.
National benchmark indexes rose in all of Europe’s 18 western markets except Portugal. France’s CAC 40 Index jumped 3.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index added 1.3 percent, while Germany’s DAX Index rallied 4 percent.
Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, increased 11 percent. Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest, gained 9.8 percent.
Pirelli surged 15 percent. The company on March 12 posted 2011 profit of 451.6 million euros, exceeding the 314.3 million- euro analyst estimate, and increased its dividend to 27 euro cents.
Aixtron SE, which manufactures equipment for the semiconductor industry, soared 19 percent. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Deutsche Bank AG on March 15. The analysts cited “early indications of a recovery in the LED industry demand.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a seven-day gain after an increase in oil and consumer prices sparked inflation concern as the economy improves.
Equities were little changed as the cost of living rose in February by the most in 10 months, reflecting a jump in gasoline. Confidence among consumers unexpectedly fell in March, a sign rising fuel costs may be starting to weigh on economic prospects. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said yesterday rising oil prices show “we still face a dangerous and uncertain world” and there’s no easy way to lower gasoline costs.
Dow 13,232.62 -20.14 -0.15%, Nasdaq 3,055.26 -1.11 -0.04%, S&P 500 1,404.17 +1.57 +0.11%
Energy shares gained, while airlines slumped as oil traded above $107 a barrel. Noble surged 4.8 percent to $41.25. Chesapeake Energy added 2.5 percent to $25.06. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) advanced 0.4 percent to $86.44.
Financial shares in the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent as a group. The index surged 6.2 percent in four days following dividend increases by banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. Bank of America (ВАС) jumped 6.1 percent, the most in the Dow, to $9.80. Wells Fargo & Co. lost 0.5 percent to $33.89.
Apple ended almost unchanged at $585.57, after briefly rising above $600 yesterday. The 9.7-inch iPad, unveiled on March 7, is the biggest upgrade yet to Apple’s tablet before Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) introduces new software for competing devices.
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