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02.07.2012 07:46

Stocks: Friday’s review

Asian stocks climbed, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest gain since December, after European leaders meeting in Brussels agreed to ease repayment rules for Spanish banks and make it easier to recapitalize the region’s troubled lenders.

Nikkei 225 9,006.78 +132.67 +1.50%

S&P/ASX 200 4,094.6 +49.76 +1.23%

Shanghai Composite 2,224.12 +28.27 +1.29%

Westpac Banking Corp. rose 1.5 percent in Sydney as banks provided the biggest support to the Asian benchmark after leaders of the 17 euro countries dropped a requirement that governments get preferred creditor status on crisis loans to Spain’s banks.

Toyota Motor Corp. advanced 2.6 percent, leading gains among Japanese exporters.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, climbed 2.3 percent as metals prices soared.

European stocks rose for a fourth week as the region’s leaders agreed to address flaws in their bailout programs to ease the sovereign-debt crisis.

Colruyt NV (COLR) jumped 16 percent as Belgium’s biggest discount food retailer reported a surprise increase in profit. Barclays Plc (BARC) slumped 19 percent after paying a record fine to settle claims it sought to rig the London and euro interbank offered rates.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) climbed 1.9 percent to 251.17 this week, extending the longest stretch of gains since January, after policy makers eased repayment rules for Spanish banks,

National benchmark indexes climbed in all 18 western European markets this week.

FTSE 100 5,571.15 +78.09 +1.42% CAC 40 3,196.65 +144.97 +4.75% DAX 6,416.28 +266.37 +4.33%

Colruyt jumped 16 percent as the Belgian retailer reported a surprise increase in profit amid heightened price awareness among consumers.

Yara International ASA, the world’s biggest publicly traded nitrogen-fertilizer maker, and K+S AG, Europe’s largest potash producer, each surged 12 percent. Syngenta AG, the biggest maker of crop chemicals, rose 5.2 percent.

Marine Harvest ASA (MHG), the world’s biggest salmon farmer, advanced 12 percent.

Even after the measures announced at the European Union summit, bank shares posted the second-worst performance among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.

Barclays Plc, Britain’s second-largest bank by assets, slumped 19 percent for the biggest decline since August. The company will pay a record 290 million-pound ($455 million) fine after investigators found traders and senior managers “systematically” tried to manipulate Libor, the benchmark rate for $360 trillion of securities. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc declined 11 percent.

Infineon Technologies AG slid 14 percent after Europe’s second-largest semiconductor maker said sales in the current quarter would miss its prediction. The company will probably reduce its profit forecast again, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co., which downgraded the stock to neutral.

U.S. stocks rallied for the week, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the best monthly gain since October, amid optimism an agreement by European leaders on banks will help contain the region’s debt crisis.

The S&P 500 advanced 2 percent to 1,362.16 during the week, extending its increase in June to 4 percent, the most since February. The Dow gained 239.31 points, or 1.9 percent, to 12,880.09 for the week, finishing the month up 3.9 percent.

All 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose. Energy companies jumped the most, climbing 4.8 percent, as oil rebounded. A gauge of homebuilders rallied 13 percent as housing data beat forecasts and Lennar Corp.’s profit surged. Hospital companies including Tenet (THC) Healthcare Corp. jumped after the Supreme Court upheld the core of President Barack Obama’s industry overhaul. Nike Inc. (NKE) sank 12 percent while Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) plunged 25 percent amid disappointing earnings.

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