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Most Asian stocks declined, paring this year’s advance, with a deadline looming for the U.S. Congress to reach a budget agreement to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts.
Nikkei 225 Closed
S&P/ASX 200 4,648.95 -22.35 -0.48%
Shanghai Composite 2,269.13 +35.88 +1.61%
BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group, the world’s largest mining companies, led declines among companies with earnings closely tied to economic growth.
Fairfax Media Ltd. surged 7.4 percent, paring its slump in 2012, amid speculation billionaire Gina Rinehart and investor John Singleton may seek control of Australia’s second-largest newspaper publisher.
China Resources Power Holdings Co., a Hong Kong-listed mainland utility, rose 1.4 percent after a survey showed Chinese manufacturing speeding up.
European stocks were little changed, with the benchmark index completing the biggest annual gain since 2009, as U.S. lawmakers faced a midnight deadline to agree on a budget deal to prevent automatic deficit-reduction measures from coming into effect tomorrow.
The Stoxx 600 added 0.1 percent to 279.14 at 1:44 p.m. in London, following a shortened day of trading. The benchmark measure ended the year with a gain of 14 percent.
China’s manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace in 19 months, a report showed today. The final reading of a Purchasing Managers’ Index was 51.5 in December, according to a statement from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. That compares with the 50.9 preliminary reading on Dec. 14 and a final 50.5 in November. A level above 50 indicates expansion.
Greece’s ASE Index (ASE) and Germany’s DAX Index were the best- performing western European markets in 2012, as they surged 33 percent and 29 percent respectively. Spain’s IBEX 35 Index was the worst, dropping 4.7 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 advanced 5.8 percent and 15 percent respectively.
Nine of the 18 western European markets including Germany and Switzerland were closed today.
FTSE 100 5,897.81 -27.56 -0.47% CAC 40 3,641.07 +20.82 +0.58% DAX 7,612.39 -43.49 -0.57%
ACEA lost 2.4 percent to 4.55 euros after its renewable- energy unit agreed to sell Apollo Srl, which manages photovoltaic plants with a total installed capacity of 32.54 megawatts, to RTR for 102.50 million euros.
Bankia slipped 3.2 percent to 39.1 euro cents, erasing its earlier gains. The lender has plunged 43 percent in the last three days, after Spain said Bankia has a negative value of 4.15 billion euros.
HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s largest lender, dropped 0.7 percent to 646.9 pence, while Banco de Sabadell SA lost 2 percent to 1.98 euros.
SNS Reaal NV, the Dutch bank and insurer struggling to meet capital demands and repay a 2008 loan, dropped 2 percent to 1.03 euros. The company ignored Ernst & Young LLP’s advice in 2010 that it should write down as much as 1.2 billion euros on property finance loansViscofan, a Spanish sausage-casings maker, jumped 6.8 percent to 42.81 euros.
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