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Japanese stocks fell, with benchmark indexes slumping by the most this month, as the euro weakened to near a two-week low against the yen on concern Europe’s debt crisis will spread, damping the outlook for export earnings.
Nippon Sheet Glass lost 1.8 percent to 214 yen. Ricoh Co., a maker of office equipment that gets a fifth of its revenue from Europe, declined 1.9 percent to 1,168 yen. Fanuc, a maker of industrial robots that earns almost 20 percent of its revenue in Europe, slipped 1.8 percent to 12,150 yen, the heaviest drag on the Nikkei 225.
Komatsu Ltd., which has China as its fastest-growing market, slumped 1.9 percent on concern that Chinese policy makers will act further to tame inflation.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., an excavator maker that generates about a quarter of its revenue from China, sank 2.1 percent to 1,937 yen and Kubota Corp., Asia’s largest tractor maker, slid 1.4 percent to 787 yen, both falling the most this month.
Sony Corp., the maker of Bravia televisions, sank 1.2 percent after saying it may fall short of a target for TV sales.
Uny Co., a retailer, slumped 4.2 percent to 778 yen, the biggest decline in the Nikkei 225, after Macquarie Group Ltd. cut its investment recommendation on the company to “underperform” from “neutral.”
European stocks rose, erasing losses that followed Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s 2008 bankruptcy, amid speculation that the economic recovery is strong enough to withstand the region’s sovereign-debt crisis.
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest automaker, soared 3.7 percent after saying it expects sales in China to grow as much as 15 percent next year.
Abertis Infraestructuras SA added 1.3 percent as the Sunday Times said CVC Capital Partners Ltd. may bid for the Spanish highway operator.
888 Holdings Plc rallied 18 percent to 57.75 pence, the biggest gain since its initial share sale in 2005. The online gambling company said it’s in the early stages of discussions with Ladbrokes Plc about a possible takeover offer.
Mobistar SA advanced 3.8 percent to 47.42 euros after Belgium’s second-biggest mobile-phone company was upgraded to “buy” at Deutsche Bank AG.
Rhodia SA climbed 7.2 percent to 24.39 euros, the highest price in almost three years. The specialty chemical company is confident it will be able to defend its profit margins in 2011ю
Retail stocks had the only drop out of 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 as the snow disrupted holiday shopping. Inditex SA, the world’s largest clothing retailer, declined 2.7 percent to 56.60 euros. Dixons Retail Plc, the U.K.’s biggest consumer- electronics retailer, retreated 6.2 percent to 22.84 pence.
U.S. stocks seesawed between small gains and losses Monday but remained in a narrow range at the start of a holiday-shortened week, as investors began to shift their focus to 2011.
The three major indexes continue to hover near their highest levels since 2008, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rising to fresh highs during Monday's session. The Dow touched a two-year high last week, as President Obama signed a tax-cut plan into law. Stocks have been trending higher since the compromise deal was announced.
Companies: E-commerce company eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) said it has reached a deal to purchase brands4friends.com -- Germany's largest online shopping site -- for about $200 million. "The move is designed to strengthen eBay's position as a leading online fashion destination in Europe," the company said in a written statement. Shares of eBay were down 0.6%.
Consumer food and beverage company Sara Lee Corp. (SLE, Fortune 500) is in talks to sell itself to a Brazilian meat-processing giant JBS SA, according to reports. The companies are sparring over price, however, stalling the deal. Shares of Sara Lee were up 2.4%
AT&T (T) shares slippped 0.1% after the company said it will pay $1.93 billion for spectrum licenses from Qualcomm (QCOM), whose shares rose 0.2%. AT&T said the move will bolster its 4G service.
Adobe Systems (ADBE) will issue its quarterly results after the closing bell. Analysts expect the company to report earnings per share of 52 cents. The stock was up 1.4%
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