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Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index trading near its highest close in 18 months, as Bridgestone Corp. surged by the most in four years on better- than-expected profit.
Nikkei 225 11,372.34 -35.53 -0.31%
Hang Seng 23,143.91 -238.03 -1.02%
S&P/ASX 200 5,081.9 +18.48 +0.36%
Bridgestone, the world’s biggest tiremaker, soared 10 percent in Tokyo, to the highest close since 2006.
Gree Inc., a Japanese social-network website operator, rose 2.7 percent on a share-buyback plan.
Nissan Motor Co., a Japanese carmaker that gets 79 percent of its revenue abroad, fell 1.1 percent as the yen strengthened after Finance Minister Taro Aso ruled out foreign bond buying.
Sands China Ltd. paced declines among casino operators in Hong Kong on a report Macau gaming revenue missed estimates.
European stocks rose to the highest level in three weeks as German economic sentiment improved more than forecast and Danone SA rallied after reporting earnings.
German investor confidence increased to the highest level in almost three years in February. The index of investor and analyst expectations climbed to 48.2 from 31.5 in January, the ZEW Center for European Economic Research said. That exceeded the median estimate of economists in a survey calling for an increase to 35.
National benchmark indexes advanced in all 18 western European markets, except Iceland. Germany’s DAX jumped 1.6 percent and France’s CAC 40 surged 1.9 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 1 percent to a five-year high.
Danone jumped 5.9 percent to 53.15 euros as the company said it plans to cut 900 jobs in Europe after 2012 profitability declined on weak consumption in southern Europe. Fourth-quarter net income from continuing operations rose to 1.82 billion euros, in line with the 1.81 billion-euro average analyst estimate in a survey.
Bayer rose 2.50 euros to 71.79 euros after saying it began a Phase-3 trial of the Eylea injection, along with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. The trial aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the drug in treating Diabetic Macular Edema in Russia, China and other Asian countries, the companies said.
Vodafone dropped 2 percent to 163.5 pence after Bernstein lowered its recommendation on the shares to underperform, the equivalent of sell, from market perform. The European assets of the world’s second-largest wireless carrier will shrink by 23 percent in the next three years as the company faces “structural decline,” analysts led by Robin Bienenstock wrote in a report.
Nobel Biocare Holding AG fell 3.2 percent to 9.61 Swiss francs after Chief Executive Officer Richard Laube said markets will remain difficult in the short term. The world’s second- biggest maker of dental implants reported fourth-quarter net income of 11.2 million euros, exceeding the average analyst estimate of 9.55 million euros.
Major U.S. stock indexes spent trading in positive territory, with the DOW index and S & P 500 and the updated five-year highs.
Positive background of U.S. indices provided optimism from Europe, where the published data found a significant improvement in sentiment in the business environment in Germany, whose economy is the largest in the region. As shown by the results of recent studies that have been presented today by the Institute of ZEW, the level of confidence among German investors resumed their growth in February, registering with the third monthly increase in a row, on expectations that the debt crisis in the region is on the decline, as the measures taken European officials have helped to restore confidence in the region's largest economy. According to the data, the index of sentiment in the business environment in February rose to the level of 48.2, compared with 31.5 in the previous month, as well as expectations at 35.0.
Positively on the index also reflected reports that companies Office Depot Inc. and OfficeMax Inc. are in talks about a merger of the transaction may announce this week.
At the same time, the growth index was somewhat restrained sprouted data on the state of the housing market index from the NAHB, which in February dropped to 46 points in January against the value of 47 points. Expected growth rate of up to 48 points. However, the impact of the publication on the index was rather limited, because tomorrow will be presented to more important data on the U.S. housing market.
Most of the components of the index DOW finished trading in positive territory (22 of 30). More than the others fell in the share price Alcoa, Inc. (AA, -2.79%). Leader shares were Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO, +2.24%).
All sectors of the S & P showed an increase. Topped the rating of the consumer goods sector (+1.0%).
U.S. office products retailer Office Depot jumped 9.4% on news of the talks with one of his rivals OfficeMax on the possible merger. As expected, the announcement of the deal could be done this week. Shares of OfficeMax, in turn, have soared by 21%.
The world's largest consumer electronics retailer Best Buy boosted 2.7% after analysts at Barclays upgraded the stock from "market level" to "Outperform."
At the close:
S & P 500 1,530.11 +10.32 +0.68%
NASDAQ 3,213.59 +21.56 +0.68%Dow 14,035.67 +53.91 +0.39%
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