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Asian stocks rose, with a regional index excluding Japan heading for its highest close in 16 months, ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting and as investors await progress on U.S. budget talks.
Nikkei 225 9,525.32 -8.43 -0.09%
Hang Seng 22,323.94 +47.22 +0.21%
S&P/ASX 200 4,576 +18.06 +0.40%
Shanghai Composite 2,074.7 -9.07 -0.44%
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, added 1.3 percent in Sydney after metal prices rose.
STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co. jumped 7.2 percent in Seoul after a report the shipbuilder’s parent was to selling a unit that makes offshore vessels.
Kansai Electric Power Co. led Japanese utilities lower after regulators said an active earthquake fault may be running under a nuclear reactor.
European stocks closed little changed at an eight-month high amid speculation that the Federal Reserve will expand its asset purchases to provide economic stimulus and a report that showed German investor confidence increased in December.
The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, climbed to 6.9 this month from minus 15.7 in November. Economists had forecast a gain to minus 11.5, according to the median of 38 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
In the U.S., Fed rate setters begin a two-day meeting today. The officials will consider whether to supplement $40 billion a month of mortgage-bond purchases with Treasury purchases when their Operation Twist program expires at the end of this month. They will also issue updated projections on economic growth, unemployment and inflation on Dec. 12.
FTSE 100 5,924.97 +3.34 +0.06%, CAC 40 3,646.15 +34.05 +0.94%, DAX 7,589.75 +58.83 +0.78%
ThyssenKrupp rallied 5.6 percent to 17.18 euros. Germany’s largest steelmaker said it will sell its Steel Americas business by the end of next year. Chief Financial Officer Guido Kerkhoff said that more than five bidders have expressed an interest in either or both of the plants in Alabama and Rio de Janeiro state. The shares earlier dropped as much as 3.4 percent after the company said that it won’t pay an annual dividend after reporting a second straight yearly loss, including a 3.6 billion-euro ($4.7 billion) writedown for the Steel Americas unit.
Diageo dropped 1.6 percent to 1,855.5 pence after saying it ended talks with JB y Cia. SA de C.V. and Lanceros S.A. de C.V. over its plan to buy Jose Cuervo. The London-based distiller will also end an agreement to distribute the tequila brand outside Mexico when it expires at the end of June next year.
Shares of the Belgian financial group KBC fell in price by 4.8%. KBC raised EUR 1.25 billion from the offering, selling 58.8 million securities at 21.25 euros per share, which represents a 9.5 percent discount to their value at the close of the market on Monday.
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