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Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index poised for its longest losing streak in six weeks, as the European Union’s outlook was cut by Moody’s Investors Service ahead of policy makers’ meetings. Australian shares declined as the central bank left the key rate unchanged.
Nikkei 225 8,775.51 -8.38 -0.10%
S&P/ASX 200 4,303.5 -26.17 -0.60%
Shanghai Composite 2,040.09 -19.05 -0.93%
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., an operator of retail chains that gets 55 percent of its revenue in Europe, fell 0.2 percent in Hong Kong.
Westpac Banking Corp., Australia’s second-biggest lender by market value, slid 2.3 percent.
Agile Property Holdings Ltd. declined 5.7 percent in Hong Kong as its rating was cut at DBS Vickers after its chairman was arrested.
European stocks retreated, paring yesterday’s biggest rally in a month, as investors awaited a report that may show U.S. manufacturing teetered between expansion and contraction in August.
The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index was little changed at 50 in August compared with 49.8 in July, according to the median estimate of 70 economists. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between contraction and expansion. Spending on construction projects probably rose in July, another release may show.
Euro-area countries will this week ask investors to stake more than 20 billion euros ($25 billion) on second-guessing the ECB, selling the most debt in more than three months before the central bank’s president, Mario Draghi, speaks on Sept. 6.
Spain, France, Austria and Belgium return to the market after a month-long pause, with Germany also selling debt. The auctions take place before the ECB’s meeting in Frankfurt, where Draghi may reveal details of a new bond-buying program.
The leaders of the single currency’s biggest economies hold further meetings this week as they brace for their central banker’s plan to defend the euro from bond-market turmoil. Draghi told the European Parliament yesterday he would be comfortable buying three-year government debt to bring down borrowing costs for nations in financial distress.
Vodafone slid 1.3 percent to 180.9 pence for the biggest contribution to the Stoxx 600’s retreat. Bernstein lowered the telecommunications company to market perform from outperform, meaning that investors should not buy more of the shares.
Ahold climbed 3 percent to 10.14 euros after the Dutch owner of the U.S. Stop & Shop grocery chain said it will take 6 to 12 months to review options for its stake in ICA. Ahold will probably return at least part of the proceeds from a sale to shareholders in the form of a buyback or special dividend, analysts at SNS Securities said in a note. They value the stake at 2.1 billion euros to 2.4 billion euros.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell, trimming steeper declines, as speculation European leaders will announce new steps to tame the debt crisis tempered concern the economic recovery is slowing.
ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank’s primary mandate compels it to intervene in bond markets to wrest back control of interest rates and ensure the euro’s survival.
Draghi is due to distribute his bond-purchasing plan to national banks after he was said to tell officials he would be comfortable buying three-year government bonds to lower borrowing costs.
Equities fell earlier as the Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. factory index showed U.S. manufacturing shrank for a third month in August in the longest decline since the recession ended in 2009, threatening to deprive the world’s largest economy of a driver of growth. A report over the weekend showed China’s manufacturing contracted at the fastest pace since March 2009.
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