Stocks in Europe, Asia Gain

Stocks around the world climbed for a fifth day as the Group of 20 vowed to clean up toxic assets, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the recession may end this year, and Barclays Plc reported a “strong” start to 2009., Bloomberg 3/16/2009 6:15:38 AM

Barclays, the U.K.’s third-biggest lender, surged 20 percent after saying its businesses continue to perform well. UBS AG and Citigroup Inc. gained more than 7 percent. Mizuho Financial Group Inc., which has the most credit-related losses of any Asian bank, increased 5.6 percent in Tokyo.

The MSCI World Index advanced 1.3 percent to 766.05 as of 12:52 p.m. in London. The gauge of 23 developed nations has climbed 11 percent since March 9 as Citigroup, Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. said they made money during the first two months of 2009. The global measure is still down 17 percent this year.

The rally in stocks curbed demand for government debt, sending yields on 30-year U.S. Treasuries to near the highest level in almost four months. The comments from Barclays sent the pound higher against the dollar and the euro, while the yen fell for a third day against the dollar and the euro on speculation a Bank of Japan plan to buy government debt will spur investors to seek higher-yielding assets overseas.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index rose 2.2 percent, extending its five-day gain to 9.1 percent, as TeliaSonera AB climbed. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 1.9 percent, led by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.

Asian stocks rose, led by financial companies and automakers, as Group of 20 finance ministers vowed to combat the global recession and OPEC refrained from cutting output quotas to bolster economic growth.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 2 percent to 76.23 as of 7:38 p.m. in Tokyo, with about seven stocks gaining for every two that declined. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 1.8 percent to 7,704.15, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 3.6 percent. All markets in Asia rose except in South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.