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November 2, 2011

Asia Stocks Drop, Euro Weakens on EU Concern
By Bloomberg News – Nov 1, 2011

Asia stocks declined and the euro weakened for a fourth day against the dollar on concern a Greek referendum will threaten Europe’s rescue plan and amid signs global economic growth is slowing.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1.5 percent as of 9:15 a.m. in Tokyo, extending its three-day loss to 5.9 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures retreated 0.4 percent after the U.S. benchmark plunged 2.8 in New York trading yesterday. The 17-nation euro dropped 0.3 percent to $1.3668 and declined 0.4 percent to 106.97 yen. Oil fell 1.1 percent to $91.14 a barrel in New York.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said a referendum on the European financial accord would send a clear message on his nation’s membership in the currency region. The poll will hinder the next installment of aid funds by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said. The Federal Reserve will release a policy statement and economic projections today, after data yesterday showed manufacturing almost stalled in the U.S. last month.

“The Greek bailout plan may go back to where it started and U.S. ISM manufacturing was weaker than market estimates,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “The market environment is deteriorating fast.”

About 21 shares declined for every one that gained on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 1.8 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi Index dropped 2.3 percent.

OneSteel Ltd. (OST) tumbled 15 percent in Sydney after the steelmaker said earnings for the first half of its 2012 financial year will probably be hurt by a decline in iron ore prices and an increase in the Australian dollar. Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. slipped at least 1.6 percent after the automakers posted U.S. sales declines for October.

U.S. Economy

Futures on the S&P 500 signal the U.S. stocks gauge may extend a two-day, 5.2 percent drop. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index dropped to 50.8 in October from 51.6 in September. A reading of 52 was the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy held emergency talks on Greece yesterday and in a joint statement called on Europe to implement the package of measures. Sarkozy told reporters the plan is the “only way” to fix Greece. Group of 20 leaders meet in Cannes, France, starting tomorrow to discuss the debt crisis.

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