European stock futures were little changed, indicating the Stoxx Europe 600 Index will halt two days of gains, before euro-area finance ministers meet to discuss insuring a portion of bonds issued by debt-stricken countries. Asian stocks and U.S. index futures climbed.
Electricite de France SA might move as Le Figaro reported the company plans to announce a partnership with General Electric Co. Vodafone Group Plc might be active. Banks might move after Moody's Investors Service said it's considering lowering debt ratings for European lenders, says BusinessWeek.
European finance ministers meet today to thrash out details on how to boost the European Financial Stability Facility, and Italy and Belgium will auction bonds. Moody's Investors Service said it's considering lowering debt ratings for the region's banks. Data today may show U.S. consumer confidence climbed this month from a two-year low, while Australia's government pledged to cut spending and Japan's jobless rate rose, informs Bloomberg.
Japan's export giants posted solid gains as the persistently strong yen weakened against the dollar. Hitachi Ltd. soared 5.5 percent, Fujitsu Ltd. gained 2.6 percent, and Honda Motor Corp. added 2.4 percent. Hong Kong retailers also rose. Jewelry seller Luk Fook Holdings jumped 6.2 percent on strong demand from China for jewelry and gold. Clothing retailer Esprit Holdings gained 4 percent, according to ABC News.
Investors are likely to buy shares even on small news because stocks have been sold too much globally on lingering debt issues in European countries," said Seiichiro Iwamoto, who helps oversee about $35 billion in Tokyo at Mizuho Asset Management Co. "People in the market are swinging between joy and sorrow on even the smallest news from the region." Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.7 percent after swinging between gains and losses today. The U.S. equity benchmark yesterday climbed 2.9 percent, the most since Oct. 27.
Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on the U.S. to negative following a congressional committee's failure to agree on deficit cuts, informs San Francisco Chronicle.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea