Asian Stocks Advance

Asian stocks rose, paring the regional benchmark index’s worst start to a year since 1990, as brokerages upgraded technology companies and on optimism Citigroup Inc. will avoid being nationalized., Bloomberg 2/27/2009 6:05:22 AM

LG Display Co., the world’s No. 2 maker of liquid crystal displays, jumped 3.9 percent after Goldman, Sachs & Co. raised its stock target. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. added 2.7 percent, as people familiar with the matter said the U.S. will require Citigroup to raise private capital to strengthen the bank. Companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index are trading near the cheapest valuations on record following the gauge’s 50 percent drop in the past year.

The MSCI index rose 1.3 percent to 75.28 as of 7:20 p.m. in Tokyo, narrowing its February drop to 9.3 percent and its 2009 decline to 16 percent. Stocks have fallen as the global recession battered earnings at companies from Toyota Motor Corp., Japan’s largest automaker, to BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 1.5 percent to 7,568.42, paring its drop this month to 5.3 percent. Game maker Nintendo Co. paced gains by exporters as the yen weakened. South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.8 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of China’s stock exchanges, declined 1.8 percent, paring its 2009 gain to 14 percent.

European stocks retreated, led by banks as the U.S. government ratcheted up its effort to save Citigroup Inc. and data showed the American economy shrank more than economists anticipated last quarter.

Citigroup slumped 33 percent in New York after the government agreed to a third rescue attempt that will cut existing shareholders’ stake in the company by 74 percent. Lloyds Banking Group Plc tumbled 28 percent in London after failing to announce an agreement on a U.K. government asset insurance program, while Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc fell 17 percent.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index slid for the fifth time in six days, decreasing 3.4 percent to 170.14 at 1:39 p.m. in London. The regional gauge lost 11 percent this month, the sixth straight decline, as companies from Anglo American Plc to Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA posted disappointing results and the economic crisis in eastern Europe deepened.