Stocks in Europe, Asia Rise

Stocks advanced in Europe and Asia, sending the MSCI World Index to its sixth straight gain, after results from Clariant AG and Marks & Spencer Group Plc eased concern about profit growth, while money-market interest rates declined.

The MSCI World Index added 1.4 percent to 975.15 at 12:24 p.m. in London. The gauge for 23 developed countries rose six straight days for the first time since July, rallying 17 percent from a five-year low on Oct. 27. Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index advanced for a sixth day, climbing 2.7 percent, the longest stretch of gains since August 2007, when the credit crisis got under way.

U.K. stocks advanced for a sixth day, led by retailers and airlines after Marks & Spencer Group Plc reported first-half net income ahead of analysts' estimates and crude oil declined. The FTSE 100 Index gained 115.371, or 2.6 percent, at 1:06 p.m. in London.

German stocks rose for a fourth day as lower money-market rates lifted financial shares, overshadowing concern the economic slowdown will curb profits. The benchmark DAX Index advanced 93.08, or 1.9 percent, to 5,119.92 at 1:16 p.m. in Frankfurt.

Shares in Asia rose, led by financial companies, as Australia's central bank cut interest rates more than economists expected. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 6.3 percent as trading resumed following yesterday's holiday. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Westpac Banking Corp. gained. The S&P/ASX 200 Index decreased 6.4 points, or 0.15 percent, halting a four-day, 11 percent rally.

China's stocks fell to the lowest in almost two years, led by energy and commodity companies, after crude oil prices slumped and Yunnan Tin Co. announced a production cut because of reduced demand. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China's two exchanges, declined 25.78, or 1.6 percent, to 1,627.76 at the close, the lowest since November 2006.

Indian stocks rose, with the benchmark index climbing for a fifth day, on speculation overseas investors are buying the nation's equities as redemptions ease. The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 293.44, or 2.8 percent, to 10,631.12.

Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2.6 percent as voters in the U.S. go to the polls today to elect a new president. The winner between Democrat Barack Obama, who leads in national polls, and Republican John McCain must contend with an economy crippled by declining corporate profits and the highest unemployment in five years.,
11/4/2008 5:27:34 AM