Global Stocks Fall

Stocks fell in Europe and Asia, extending the MSCI World Index's worst monthly slump on record, as concern deepened the economic slowdown will stifle profit growth. U.S. index futures retreated before a report that will probably show consumer spending dropped.

L'Oreal SA lost 8.9 percent after the world's biggest cosmetics company reduced its profit forecast as consumers cut purchases. BT Group Plc, the U.K.'s largest phone company, tumbled 19 percent after saying second-quarter earnings missed its targets amid the economic slowdown. BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest mining company, dropped 4 percent as copper retreated.

The MSCI World Index lost 1.1 percent to 942.13 at 8:54 a.m. in London as all 10 industry groups decreased. Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index declined 0.6 percent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 2.1 percent.

U.K. stocks fell, led by BT Group Plc after the U.K.'s largest phone company said second-quarter earnings missed targets. The FTSE 100 Index slipped 54.83, or 1.3 percent, to 4,236.82 at 8:16 a.m. in London, heading for a 14 percent decline this month.

Asian stocks fell, adding to the regional benchmark index's worst month ever, as a record three-day rally fizzled after companies slashed profit forecasts and metals prices tumbled. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 2.1 percent.

Japan's Stocks retreated, capping the Nikkei 225 Stock Average's worst monthly drop on record, as lower company earnings forecasts overshadowed the central bank's first rate cut in seven years. The Nikkei 225 fell 452.78, or 5 percent, to close at 8,576.98 in Tokyo.

Australian stocks rose, paring the biggest monthly loss since 1987, on speculation global interest- rate cuts will spark demand and an economic slowdown in the U.S. will be mild. he S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 16.90, or 0.4 percent, to 4,018 at the close in Sydney, while the broader All Ordinaries Index added 25.40, or 0.6 percent, to 3,982.70.

China's stocks fell, capping the worst month for the Shanghai Composite Index in more than 13 years, after a spate of companies reported lower profit. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated shares traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, fell 34, or 2 percent, to 1,663.66 at the close.,
10/31/2008 2:34:24 AM