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Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its fifth day of advance, before the release of U.S. data this week that’s expected to show further signs of stabilization in the housing market.
Nikkei 225 10,141.99 +12.16 +0.12%
Hang Seng 21,115.29 -202.56 -0.95%
S&P/ASX 200 4,290.8 +14.64 +0.34%
Shanghai Composite 2,410.18 +5.45 +0.23%
Samsung Electronics Co., Asia’s No. 1 consumer-electronics maker, climbed 1.8 percent in Seoul.
Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil producer, gained 2.2 percent in Hong Kong as crude traded near a one-week high.
Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the country’s largest producer of the metal, sank 3.7 percent after saying it may be unprofitable in the first quarter after posting a wider-than-expected loss in the second half of 2011.
European stocks were little changed after last week’s biggest advance for the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index since early February.
The gauge rose to its highest level since July last week as data from Germany to the U.S. indicated global growth is gaining momentum and the Federal Reserve raised its assessment of the world’s largest economy.
National benchmark indexes fell in eight of Europe’s 18 western markets. France’s CAC 40 Index lost 0.5 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and Germany’s DAX Index slipped 0.1 percent each.
Standard Life fell 1.2 percent to 247.7 pence, snapping a five-day rally. Credit Suisse Group AG downgraded Scotland’s biggest insurer to underperform from neutral, equivalent to a sell recommendation.
DSV retreated 2 percent to 131.30 kroner after UBS AG lowered its rating for the transport and logistic company to neutral from buy.
TNT Express NV also advanced 1.1 percent to 9.44 euros after United Parcel Service Inc. sweetened its bid to 5.16 billion euros.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced to the highest level since May 2008 as Apple Inc. plans to pay a dividend and buy back $10 billion of its stock.
Dow 13,239.13 +6.51 +0.05%, Nasdaq 3,078.32 +23.06 +0.75%, S&P 500 1,409.75 +5.58 +0.40%
Apple gained 2.7 percent to $601.10. Investors will receive a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share starting in the period beginning July 1, Cupertino, California-based Apple said in a statement. The buybacks will begin in the fiscal year starting Sept. 30 and will take place over three years, the company said.
The company’s cash pile has swelled amid surging demand for its products. Investors had urged Apple to return some of the balance in the form a dividend.
Bank of America (ВАС) fell 2.8 percent to $9.53, snapping a four-day rally.
Citigroup added 1.3 percent to $37.17. The third-largest U.S. bank sold its 2.71 percent stake in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank to institutional investors, generating after- tax proceeds of about $349 million.
U.S. Steel had the biggest advance in the S&P 500, gaining 6.4 percent to $31.64. The country’s largest producer of the metal by volume should benefit from a recovery in steel prices, UBS AG said in a note.
UPS added 3.4 percent to $81.11, the highest level since July 2006. The company raised its offer for TNT Express NV by 5.6 percent to 5.16 billion euros ($6.8 billion) to secure the biggest deal in the U.S. company’s 105-year history.
Sprint Nextel Corp. slumped 4.5 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $2.76. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. downgraded the company amid concern it won’t sell enough iPhones to afford its “punishing” commitment with Apple Inc.
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