European Stocks Advance

European stocks and U.S. index futures gained as higher copper and oil buoyed commodity shares and investors speculated today's jobs report will give the Federal Reserve more room to lower interest rates.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company, and BP Plc, Europe's second-largest oil company, rallied more than 3 percent. British Airways Plc, the region's third-biggest carrier, surged 17 percent after raising its revenue forecast. Munich Re jumped 5 percent as the world's largest reinsurer maintained its dividend and earnings-per-share targets.

Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.8 percent to 217.08 at 12:22 p.m. in London, leaving the index down 2.2 percent this week. Today's employment report may show the U.S. economy lost more jobs, bolstering the case for lower rates as central banks worldwide try to shore up the banking system in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

National benchmarks advanced 13 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 1.6 percent with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Rio Tinto Group climbing. Germany's DAX added 0.6 percent, while France's CAC 40 increased 0.7 percent.

Japan stocks fell a second day, paring a weekly gain, as the slowing global economy and stronger yen prompted Toyota Motor Corp. and Olympus Corp. to cut profit targets by more than half. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 316.14, or 3.6 percent, to close at 8,583.00 in Tokyo, paring an earlier 7.1 percent decline.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slumped 2.4 percent, led by Rio Tinto Group after Moody's Investor's Services downgraded the stock, extending yesterday's 4.3 percent decline.

Indian stocks gained for the first time in three days, led by Reliance Industries Ltd. after some investors judged recent declines excessive. The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 230.07, or 2.4 percent, to close at 9,964.29.

China’s stocks rose after a report a unit of UBS AG bought 300 million yuan ($44 million) of mainland equities lifted optimism that recent selloffs amid a global rout are near an end. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China’s two exchanges, advanced 28.05, or 1.7 percent, to 1,677.83 at the close. Eight of the 10 industry groups rose.,
11/7/2008 5:13:30 AM