European Stocks, U.S. Index Futures Climb

European stocks and U.S. index futures climbed and Asian shares pared declines after the world's largest central banks said they will pump $247 billion into the financial system.

HBOS Plc rallied 51 percent as Lloyds TSB Group Plc agreed to acquire the U.K.'s biggest mortgage lender. UBS AG and Barclays Plc advanced more than 4 percent. Washington Mutual Inc. soared 18 percent in German trading on speculation of a sale for parts of the largest U.S. savings and loan. Volkswagen AG increased 13 percent as investors speculated that Porsche SE will make a full takeover.

Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 1.5 percent to 261.97 at 12:05 p.m. in London, rebounding from its steepest three-day slide since 2002. Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 1.7 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 1.6 percent, paring an earlier drop of as much as 4.3 percent.

More than $19 trillion has been wiped off global stock- market value since Oct. 31 as the worst U.S. housing recession since the Great Depression and more than $500 billion in credit losses and writedowns at banks slowed the world economy.

Stocks in Europe extended gains after a report showed retail sales in the U.K. rose 1.2 percent in August. Economists had forecast a 0.5 percent drop, according to the median in a Bloomberg News survey. Kingfisher Plc led retailers higher, climbing 9 percent.,
9/18/2008 5:34:26 AM