Stocks in Europe and Asia Decline

Stocks in Europe and Asia fell for the first time in three days as companies from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG to K+S AG posted disappointing results and Japan’s economy shrank the most since 1974., Bloomberg 3/12/2009 5:29:47 AM

BMW, the world’s largest maker of luxury cars, lost 3.8 percent after posting full-year net income that trailed analysts’ estimates. K+S, Europe’s biggest producer of potash used in fertilizers, tumbled 8.6 percent on a forecast for significantly” lower earnings this year. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. slumped 3.7 percent after Japan’s economy contracted 12.1 percent in the fourth quarter.

The MSCI World Index dropped 0.8 percent to 725.09 at 11:15 a.m. in London, extended its 2009 retreat to 21 percent. The gauge of 23 developed nations had rallied 6.1 percent in the past two days as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. said they were profitable in January and February, bolstering speculation that the worst of the banking crisis may be over.

The global economy may shrink for the first time since World War II and trade will likely decline the most in 80 years, the World Bank said this month. The MSCI World has fallen 49 percent in the past year as results at companies from Anglo American Plc to Nissan Motor Co. and dividend cuts by JPMorgan and General Electric Co. sent investors out of equities.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 1.9 percent as Thomas Cook Group Plc fell. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 1.1 percent, snapping a two-day, 4.1 percent advance. Japan’s Topix fell below 700 for the first time since 1983.