Stocks in Europe, Asia Gain

Stocks in Europe and Asia advanced, led by financial shares after Citigroup Inc. said the bank is having its best quarter since 2007, when it last posted a profit., Bloomberg 3/10/2009 6:42:36 AM

UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest bank, and Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG rose more than 8 percent. Citigroup rallied 16 percent in New York as Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said the bank’s stock price doesn’t reflect its capital strength or earnings potential. Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, climbed 7.4 percent as crude traded above $47 a barrel.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 1.9 percent to 160.92 at 12:40 p.m. in London, rebounding from a 12-year low. The gauge has still declined 19 percent this year as companies from Anglo American Plc to Bayer AG posted disappointing results and credit-related losses at financial firms worldwide climbed to almost $1.2 trillion.

Stocks extended their advance after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke urged a sweeping overhaul of U.S. financial regulations in remarks prepared for an address to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. He reiterated that the central bank and other regulators will take any necessary and appropriate steps” to ensure banks have capital to function well in even a severe economic downturn.”

The Stoxx 600 and the S&P 500 fell to the lowest levels since 1996 yesterday as billionaire Warren Buffett said the economy has fallen off a cliff.” The U.S. jobless rate will reach 9.4 percent this year and remain elevated through at least 2011, a monthly Bloomberg News survey indicated.

 The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.9 percent to 71.23 as of 8:15 p.m. in Tokyo, following a two-day, 3.5 percent drop that dragged the measure to its lowest close since August 2003. The gauge slumped 20 percent this year as the global recession decimated profits at companies from Sony to Toyota Motor Corp.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.4 percent to 7,054.98, while HSBC led a 2.3 percent gain in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index. Most other markets gained, except for New Zealand, the Philippines and Malaysia. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are closed for holidays.