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Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for its first advance in five days, as corporate profits beat estimates and U.S. housing data added to signs the world’s biggest economy is improving.
Nikkei 225 9,561.01 +92.97 +0.98%
Hang Seng 20,659.54 -17.62 -0.09%
S&P/ASX 200 Closed
Shanghai Composite 2,406.81 +17.98 +0.75%
Samsung Electronics Co., Asia’s largest consumer electronics maker, rose 1.7 percent in Seoul.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., a maker of Apple Inc. products, added 2.4 percent in Taipei as Apple’s profit almost doubled last quarter.
Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest brokerage, rose 2.4 percent on speculation it may post higher net income.
Yoshinoya Holdings Co., a restaurant chain that imports beef, fell 2.4 percent in Tokyo after a case of mad-cow disease was found in the U.S.
European stocks advanced for a second day as companies from Apple Inc. to Swedbank AB and Electrolux AB reported earnings that beat estimates.
In the U.S., the Federal Reserve will conclude a two-day meeting today where it will probably leave the benchmark interest rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent, according to the median forecast of economists.
The U.K. economy unexpectedly shrank in the first quarter as construction output slumped, pushing Britain into its first double-dip recession since the 1970s. Gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, when it shrank 0.3 percent, the Office for National Statistics said today in London.
National benchmark indexes rose in all of the 19 western European markets except Iceland. France’s CAC 40 rallied 2 percent, while Germany’s DAX advanced 1.7 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent.
Swedbank, the largest lender in the Baltic states, jumped 3.5 percent to 107.70 kronor after profit in the first quarter beat estimates as it made more money from its lending business.
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA rose 2.2 percent to 5.26 euros after the Spanish lender reporter first-quarter profit of 1 billion euros, topping the average analyst estimate that called for 936.7 million euros.
BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA, France’s biggest banks, rose 5.6 percent to 30.88 euros, and 6.3 percent to 18.26 euros, respectively.
Electrolux gained 6.5 percent to 147.20 kronor after reporting first-quarter profit of 561 million kronor ($83.3 million), compared with the 483 million-kronor average estimate of economists.
Temenos jumped 19 percent to 16.85 Swiss francs after the banking-software maker confirmed its full-year outlook and reported first-quarter sales of $100.3 million, beating the average $97.5 million estimate.
Technology shares were among the best performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 after Apple posted a 94 percent increase in first-quarter profit. Cap Gemini SA and Alcatel-Lucent increased 3.5 percent to 29.68 euros, and 5.2 percent to 1.47 euros, respectively.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the U.K.’s largest drugmaker, sank 3 percent to 1,413.5 pence after reporting first-quarter profit and sales that missed analyst estimates as revenue declined in Europe.
U.S. stocks advanced, giving the Nasdaq-100 Index its biggest gain this year, as Apple Inc.’s earnings almost doubled and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to do more to stimulate growth.
Stocks also rallied as policy makers said they expect growth to gradually accelerate, while refraining from new actions to lower borrowing costs. Central bankers today upgraded their forecasts for economic growth and unemployment while repeating their view that borrowing costs are likely to remain “exceptionally low” at least through late 2014.
DOW 13,090.70 +89.16 0.69%, S&P 500 1,390.69 +18.72 1.36%, NASDAQ 3,029.63 +68.03 2.30%
Apple surged 8.9 percent to $610. Demand from Chinese consumers helped Apple sell a higher-than-predicted 35.1 million iPhones last quarter and made the world’s most populous country responsible for 20 percent of sales. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said there will be “a lot more opportunity” in China as he introduces the iPad and expands operations there.
Boeing (ВА) gained 5.3 percent to $77.08. It shipped 137 jetliners last quarter, compared with 131 deliveries by rival Airbus SAS. Boeing is boosting output by more than 60 percent in the four years through 2014 to pare a record order backlog from customers seeking more fuel-efficient jets.
Caterpillar (САТ) slumped 4.6 percent, the most in the Dow, to $103.44. The company says sales in developing nations this year will be lower than anticipated, a reversal after 2011 growth in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region outpaced North America, helping to drive record revenue and profit.
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