Asian Stocks Advance

Asian stocks rose, driving the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to its first weekly advance since August, on signs governments are succeeding in efforts to unlock credit markets.

Westfield Group, the world's largest shopping-center owner by market value, gained 3.3 percent in Sydney and Toyota Motor Corp. added 3.9 percent in Tokyo after money-market rates dropped and corporate bond risk fell. Singapore and Malaysian governments said yesterday they will guarantee bank deposits, following Hong Kong and three other Asian countries, to shore up confidence in the financial industry.

MSCI Asia added 1.1 percent to 87.85 as of 10:10 a.m. in Tokyo, rebounding from an 8.6 percent plunge yesterday that was the worst decline since the gauge was created in 1987. The index is set for a 2 percent gain this week, snapping a six-week, 31 percent plunge.

Japan's stocks rallied as a 23 percent decline in the past month made shares cheap, and investors flocked to companies whose earnings are insulated from an economic slowdown. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 241.01, or 2.9 percent, to 8,699.46 as of 9:43 a.m. in Tokyo.

Australian stocks continue to slump on Friday. Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index was 1 percent lower at 3,973.6 at 1:06 p.m. in Sydney.

U.S. stocks rose yesterday for the first time in three days as oil's retreat below $70 a barrel sparked a rally in consumer companies and prospects of a government bailout of bond insurers reversed a slide in financial shares.

The S&P 500 advanced 38.59 points, or 4.3 percent, to 946.4. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 401.35 points, or 4.7 percent, to 8,979.26. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 5.5 percent to 1,717.71. About four stocks gained for each that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

U.S. stocks retreated earlier, sending the S&P 500 down as much as 4.6 percent, after Citigroup Inc. said bad loans may rise to a record high and the government said industrial production slumped 2.8 percent in September.

Canadian stocks fell a second day as commodity producers and financial shares slid with resource prices and reports showed the economy is deteriorating. The S&P/TSX fell 0.6 percent to 9,269.97 in Toronto after earlier sliding 6 percent to the lowest intraday level since October 2004.

Brazilian stocks fell for a second day on concern a decelerating global economy will hurt demand for commodities and slow profit growth. The Bovespa slid 1.1 percent to 36,441.72.

Stocks declined also in Europe. The U.K. FTSE 100 slipped 218.2, or 5.35 percent, to 3,861.31. The German DAX Index dropped 238.82, or 4.9 percent, to 4,622.81.,
10/16/2008 7:36:21 PM