Stocks in Europe, Asia Drop


Stocks in Europe and Asia declined, led by commodity producers, on concern the deteriorating global economy will sap demand for metals and oil.

BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company by market value, and Total SA sank at least 3 percent as crude headed for its second-biggest weekly drop in more than five years. Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, slumped 4.9 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, retreated 5.6 percent. UBS AG led banks lower as Standard & Poor’s cut ratings and changed outlooks for 12 U.S. and European financial firms.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index decreased 0.8 percent to 195.69 at 1:19 p.m. in London, extending the weekly drop to 1.3 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.9 percent. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed.

Asian stocks fell, led by commodities producers, as the deepening global recession drove crude oil below $36 a barrel and metal prices to the lowest in more than four years.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, sank 3.5 percent in Sydney, and Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, lost 4.9 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average swung between gains and losses before closing lower after the central bank cut interest rates. Samsung Electronics Co. gained 4.6 percent as a benchmark gauge of memory prices climbed for the first time since June.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.6 percent to 89.95 as of 7.25 p.m. in Tokyo. About five stocks fell for every four that gained. The gauge has climbed 6.5 percent this week, the most in a month, and risen 8.7 percent in December, putting it on course for its first monthly advance since April.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
12/19/2008 5:25:22 AM