European Stocks Advance

European stocks and U.S. index futures rose as oil's third straight decline and Nike Inc.'s better-than-estimated profit overshadowed a reduced earnings forecast from General Electric Co. Shares in Asia declined.

Nike, the world's largest athletic-shoe maker, advanced 2.8 percent and Adidas AG added 1.8 percent in Germany. Repsol YPF SA rallied 4.1 percent as Expansion reported Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are considering buying the Spanish oil company. Swiss Reinsurance Co. increased 2.6 percent after saying it has ``sufficient'' liquidity even when no external funding is available. GE slipped 3.8 percent as it cut its third-quarter profit forecast and suspended its current stock buyback.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.9 percent to 267.98 at 1:08 p.m. in London. Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 0.4 percent. MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 1 percent on concern the U.S. Congress won't agree to a bank bailout plan soon enough to avert a global recession.

Indian stocks fell, with the benchmark index declining to its lowest in a week, on concern U.S. growth may slow and hurt developing economies. The Sensex slid 145.34 points, or 1.1 percent, to 13,547.18.

China's stocks surged on speculation state-owned companies will be among those taking advantage of newly relaxed shareholding rules to encourage share purchases and revive the world's second-worst performing equities market. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China's two exchanges, surged 84.68, or 4 percent, to 2,223.53 at the close.

Japan shares fell as a drop in auto shipments dragged on export growth and Re-plus Inc.'s bankruptcy reignited credit concerns. The Nikkei 225 lost 108.50, or 0.9 percent, to close at 12,006.53 in Tokyo.,
9/25/2008 5:46:56 AM