Europeans stocks may extend the previous session's rebound on Thursday, although gains will likely be capped ahead of a EU summit starting tonight. Asian stocks are trading mostly higher as positive readings on the U.S. housing market and better-than-expected Japanese retail sales data offset concerns over the evolving crisis in Europe.
Japan's retail sales rose 3.6 percent year-over-year in May, faster than the 3 percent increase forecast by economists, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed. While retail sales have now increased for six straight months, the report showed that sales growth in May eased to a three-month low, suggesting slow growth in private consumption amid intensifying eurozone woes.
The euro is trading in a narrow range against the dollar after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned that his country will not be able to finance itself for long at current rates. Rajoy's remarks came as Spanish government's 10-year bonds traded at yields close to the crucial 7 percent mark seen as unsustainable by analysts, prompted by concerns about the outlook for the eurozone ahead of the two-day meeting in Brussels.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, brushed aside calls from Spain and Italy to lower their borrowing costs, saying they must put the bloc's fundamental problems ahead of pleas for emergency measures.
In corporate news, Italian automaker Fiat SpA is expected to raise its stake in Chrysler Group LLC to 61.9 percent from 58.5 percent as early as next week, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Mobile USA Inc., the wireless operations of German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom AG, said that its Chief Executive Officer Philipp Humm has resigned to pursue a career outside of Deutsche Telekom so as to reunite with his family.
French dairy firm Danone SA said it would boost its stake in Moroccan dairy product company Centrale Laitière to become its controlling majority stake holder.
Swiss Reinsurance Co. said, citing a new study that non-life insurance premiums showed a slight improvement in 2011, owing partly to strength in emerging markets and selective rate increases in some advanced markets, while life insurance premiums showed a decline.
German industrial gases producer Linde AG is leading the bidding for U.S- based oxygen provider Lincare Holdings Inc. with around $3.4 billion offer, the Financial Times Alphaville blog reported citing sources.
HSBC Holdings Plc. is likely to sell its stakes in India's Axis Bank and YES Bank, raising around 24.5 billion Indian rupees, reports suggest.
European stocks rose for the first time in four days on Wednesday, as bargain hunters lapped up beaten-down shares following encouraging U.S. economic data. France's CAC 40 rose 1.7 percent, the German DAX gained 1.5 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 1.4 percent and Switzerland's SMI ended 0.7 percent higher.
U.S. stocks saw further upside overnight, adding to the previous session's gains, as traders reacted positively to a batch of relatively upbeat data on durable goods orders and pending home sales. The Dow and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose about 0.7 percent each, while the S&P 500 added 0.9 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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