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Asian stocks rose as manufacturing growth from Australia, China and India added to optimism the region’s economies will withstand Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis. Chinese lenders and commodity suppliers advanced as manufacturing in India and China improved in December, while Australian output expanded for the first time in six months, separate surveys showed. Markets in China, Japan, Thailand and New Zealand were closed for a holiday.
BHP Billiton, which gets about 28 % of sales from China, gained 1.1 % in Sydney. Jiangxi Copper, the country’s largest producer of the metal, gained 3.2 %. ICBC climbed 3 % in Hong Kong. China Construction Bank Corp., the nation’s second- biggest lender, rose 1.9 %.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the world’s No. 1 lender by market value, advanced 3 % as trading in Hong Kong resumed.
Exporters to the U.S. rallied. Li & Fung, a supplier of toys and clothes to retailers including Wall-Mart Stores Inc., climbed 6 % on speculation consumer spending in the U.S. will increase after payrolls climbed for a second month. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones by sales, increased 2.3 % in Seoul. Billabong International Ltd., an Australian surfwear maker that gets about half of sales from the Americas, rose 1.7 %.
European stocks rose for a fourth day as a report showed that manufacturing in the U.S. expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months.
The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 53.9 last month from 52.7 in November. France sold 84-, 161- and 315-day treasury bills today. The 10-year yield increased four basis points to 3.28 % as of 2:05 p.m. London time, rising for a fifth consecutive day. Two- year yields added two basis points to 0.87 %.
German unemployment fell in December more than economists had forecast as exports of cars and machinery boomed and one of the mildest winters on record helped support jobs in construction.
BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, surged 6.2 %, while Rio Tinto, the second-largest, soared 6.4 %.
Carmakers posted the second-best performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600 as Polk, a research company based in Southfield, Michigan, predicted that the industry’s sales will rise to 77.7 million vehicles this year, helped by a 16 % gain in China to 17.9 million.
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) rose 4 % as Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the world’s biggest maker of luxury cars (BMW) expects the automotive market to remain stable in 2012, with growth opportunities in the U.S. and China.
Afren Plc soared 20 %, its largest increase since April 2009 and the best performance in the Stoxx 600 today. The U.K. oil and gas explorer focused on Africa said its aggregate production has reached 55,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, exceeding its year-end target of 50,000 barrels.
U.S. stocks climbed, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the highest level since July, amid signs that manufacturing output is increasing from China to Australia and America.
Manufacturing across the globe showed improvement in December, suggesting production is weathering strains from Europe’s debt crisis. In the U.S., a report today showed factory output grew at the fastest pace in six months. Australian manufacturing expanded for the first time in six months, while similar Chinese and German data beat economist estimates in the past two days. Another report showed construction spending in the U.S. rose in November for a third time in four months.
Stocks maintained gains after the Federal Reserve said it will for the first time make public their own forecasts for the federal funds rate at their Jan. 24-25 meeting, according to minutes from last month’s Federal Open Market Committee released today. The move marks another stride toward greater transparency under the chairmanship of Ben S. Bernanke. By releasing their forecasts, central bankers are likely to alter expectations for the timing of the first increase in their benchmark rate, which has been kept near zero since December 2008.
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) rallied 4.3 % and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) gained 5.2 % as America’s two largest banks led financial shares higher.
Boeing Co. (BA) advanced 1.2 % after retaining a contract.
Chevron Corp. (CVX) and ConocoPhillips increased at least 1.8 % as the price of oil climbed.
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) surged 3 % after JPMorgan recommended investors buy the shares.
Base metal producers gained as copper, aluminum, zinc and tin rose on speculation stronger gauges of manufacturing may signal increased demand for industrial metals. U.S. Steel Corp. advanced 6.5 %. Alcoa Inc. (AA) gained 6.7 %. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. rose 7.4 %.
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