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segunda-feira, março 16, 2009

Stocks in Europe, Asia, U.S. Futures Gain; Barclays, Banks Rise

By Adria Cimino

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks in Europe and Asia and U.S. index futures rose as the Group of 20 vowed to clean up toxic assets, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the recession may end soon, and Barclays Plc reported a “strong” start to the year.

Barclays climbed 14 percent after the British lender said its businesses continue to perform well. Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest bank, and Prudential Plc, the U.K.’s second- biggest insurer, gained more than 5 percent. Mizuho Financial Group Inc., which has the most credit-related losses of any Asian bank, added 5.6 percent in Tokyo.

The MSCI World Index rose for a fifth straight day, climbing 1.1 percent at 9:27 a.m. in London. The gauge of 23 developed nations has surged 11 percent since March 9 as Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. said they made money during the first two months of 2009. The global measure has still lost 17 percent this year.

“A lot of action has been taken and this is a positive sign,” Justin Urquhart Stewart, who oversees $2 billion as director of 7 Investment Management in London, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “It’s a bear market, but you can have sizable rallies so you have to take it up, have a little bit more weighting in equities. Banks will recover but it will take some time.”

Treasuries, Yen

The rally in stocks curbed demand for government debt, sending yields on 30-year U.S. Treasuries toward the highest level in four months. The yen fell for a third day against the dollar and the euro on speculation a Bank of Japan plan to buy government debt will spur investors to seek higher-yielding assets overseas.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index gained 2.2 percent, extending its five-day rise to 9 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 2 percent as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. advanced.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.8 percent as Citigroup and Bank of America climbed. Fed Chairman Bernanke said in an interview broadcast on CBS Corp.’s “60 Minutes” yesterday that, should the government succeed in stabilizing financial markets, the recession will probably end this year and the economy will expand in 2010.

“Equity markets are set to continue building on last week’s gains,” Matthew Buckland, a dealer at CMC Markets in London, wrote in a note. “Bernanke’s comments in the media over the weekend suggesting that the recession in the U.S. will probably end this year also stands to lift confidence.”

G-20

Finance chiefs from the G-20 this weekend vowed to work together to clean up the toxic assets that helped trigger the financial crisis and led banks to rack up more than $1.2 trillion in losses. G-20 officials outlined guidelines on how governments should rid banks of distressed securities.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said separately he will soon announce details of his plan to help banks clean up the non-performing assets that are clogging the financial system.

Barclays surged 14 percent to 84.7 pence. The U.K.’s third- biggest lender also said it has held talks about the sale of its iShares unit. The board has made no decision on the sale of any assets, Barclays said.

Deutsche Bank added 5.2 percent to 27.10 euros. Prudential rose 6.7 percent to 278.25 pence, trimming its 2009 slump to 33 percent.

Financial firms have led the Stoxx 600’s 53 percent tumble since the beginning of last year. The measure has clawed back 9 percent since reaching a 12-year low on March 9.

Citigroup surged 9 percent to $1.94 in pre-market trading in New York. Bank of America gained 3.3 percent to $5.95.

Mitsubishi UFJ jumped 5.3 percent to 441 yen in Tokyo. Mizuho Financial, Japan’s second-largest bank, added 5.6 percent to 189 yen. The Bank of Japan is considering buying subordinated debt from banks to shore up capital, the Nikkei reported today.

TeliaSonera

TeliaSonera AB, Sweden’s largest telephone company, gained 1.6 percent to 38.60 kronor. UBS AG raised its recommendation to “buy” from “neutral,” citing “solid earnings momentum.”

Banco Popolare SC was one of only three banks in the Stoxx 600 to decline, losing 4.1 percent to 2.36 euros. The first Italian bank to seek state aid during the financial crisis plans to buy the rest of Banca Italease SpA in a 179 million-euro ($227 million) offer, delist the company and reorganize its businesses.

BHP Billiton Ltd., Australia’s biggest oil and gas producer, slipped 3.1 percent to 1,296 pence as oil fell. Crude slumped as much as 5.2 percent after OPEC refrained from cutting output on concern higher energy prices would worsen the recession.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adria Cimino in Paris at acimino1@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: March 16, 2009 05:39 EDT

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