Stocks in Europe, Asia Drop

Stocks in Europe and Asia retreated, sending the MSCI World Index lower for a seventh day, as companies from France’s Safran SA to Australia’s CSR Ltd. posted disappointing results, Bloomberg 2/18/2009 6:41:06 AM

Safran, the French partner in the world’s biggest maker of commercial aircraft engines, tumbled 13 percent after saying the company faces a year of challenges.” Merck KGaA fell for a sixth day as the German drugmaker reported its first quarterly loss since buying Serono SA. CSR, Australia’s second-largest maker of building products, slumped 17 percent to an eight-year low after forecasting lower profit.

The MSCI World Index decreased 0.3 percent to 794.29 at 1:37 p.m. in London, extending its 2009 retreat to 14 percent. The gauge of 23 developed countries slid as results at companies from Electricite de France SA to Diageo Plc weighed on share prices and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner failed to convince investors that his plan to rescue U.S. banks will work.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.8 percent before U.S. President Barack Obama details his plan to stem home foreclosures in the world’s biggest economy. General Motors Corp. climbed after the automaker asked the government for as much as $16.6 billion in new loans.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index declined 0.7 percent as BHP Billiton Ltd. slid. The regional gauge slumped 7.9 percent this year after credit-related losses at financial firms worldwide climbed to $1.1 trillion and Europe, the U.S. and Japan fell into the first simultaneous recessions since World War II.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 1 percent. Japan’s Topix lost 1 percent to 749.26 and earlier sank to 744.37, which would have been the lowest close since January 1984.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index retreated for a third day, falling 0.6 percent. Russia’s Micex Stock Exchange halted trading for one hour after shares tumbled. Hungary’s BUX Index slid 6.9 percent to the lowest since 2004 as OTP Bank Nyrt. sank.