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Asian stocks gained, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest weekly advance in almost five months, as optimism that central banks from China to the U.S. will act to stimulate economic growth tempered concerns Europe’s debt crisis will worsen.
Nikkei 225 8,569.32 +0.43 +0.01%
S&P/ASX 200 4,057.33 +15.09 +0.37%
Shanghai Composite 2,306.85 +10.90 +0.47%
Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s third-largest lender by market value, climbed 2.1 percent.
Esprit Holdings Ltd. gained 9.2 percent in Hong Kong, heading for its first advance in three days, as the clothier said it will continue with its transformation strategy after both its chairman and chief executive officer quit.
DeNA Co., Japan’s biggest social- gaming operator, jumped 12 percent in Tokyo after announcing plans to buy back shares.
European stocks rose to the highest this month after the Bank of England announced credit-easing measures, boosting optimism central banks will take steps to stimulate the global economy.
BOE Governor Mervyn King said in a speech late yesterday that the case for more stimulus in the U.K. is growing. He also unveiled two plans to improve cash supply to the banking system.
A “funding-for-lending” program will allow banks to swap assets with the BOE for money to be loaned their customers. The central bank will also activate an unused facility to inject at least 5 billion pounds ($7.8 billion) a month into the system at a minimum rate of 25 basis points more than the benchmark interest rate, now at a record low of 0.5 percent.
National benchmark indexes advanced in all of the 18 western-European markets except Iceland. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent and Germany’s DAX rallied 1.5 percent. France’s CAC 40 climbed 1.8 percent.
Telekom Austria AG advanced 1.4 percent to 8.15 euros after America Movil agreed to acquire a 21 percent stake in the company from investor Ronny Pecik. The acquisition is part of America Movil’s strategy to establish a foothold in Europe as the debt crisis lowers the value of telecommunications assets.
U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index toward a second weekly rally, amid speculation global central banks will take steps to boost economies as investors awaited Greek elections this weekend.
Central banks intensified warnings that Europe’s failure to tame its debt crisis threatens the economy as Greece’s election in two days looms as the next flashpoint for investors. A victory by Syriza, the party that promises to renege on Greece’s end of the bailout, could speed the nation’s exit from the euro. The Group of 20 leaders prepare to gather in Mexico next week, and U.S. policy makers meet June 19-20.
Stocks rose today even as economic data disappointed. Industrial production unexpectedly fell in May for the second time in three months as factories turned out fewer vehicles and consumer goods. Confidence among U.S. consumers declined in June to the lowest level this year. Manufacturing in the New York region expanded in June at the slowest pace in seven months.
Some of the largest companies gained today. Microsoft (MSFT), the world’s largest software maker, added 2 percent to $29.92. Dow Chemical, the biggest U.S. chemical company by revenue, increased 2.7 percent to $32.87.
Facebook rose 2.1 percent to $28.87, extending its weekly advance to 6.5 percent. The company told regulators ahead of its initial public offering that the midpoint of its proposed price range wasn’t “meaningfully different” from a $30.89 per-share fair value estimate earlier this year.
SAIC Inc. jumped 3.2 percent to $12.03. The defense contractor specializing in computer services was raised to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan Chase & Co. The 6-month share-price estimate is $13.
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