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Stocks firm on commodity gains after Asia selloff

Share prices firmed after an Asian equities selloff yesterday, with investors taking cues from rising commodity prices and looking past China’s worst manufacturing contraction since the global financial crisis.

Prices of US Treasuries and other safe-haven government debt eased, Wall Street was little changed and European stocks were up.

Volkswagen rallied after its CEO resigned. In contrast, Asian equity markets tumbled after a Chinese purchasing managers index intensified fears a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy will spread more widely.

Copper bounced from near four-week lows as short sellers took profits. Brent crude oil prices inched toward $50 per barrel after data showed a decline in US stockpiles last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average was off 5.75 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 16,324.72, the S&P 500 was up 4.29 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 1,947.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.19 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,775.91.

Growth in the US manufacturing sector showed no month-over-month change in September, staying at its weakest in almost two years, according to an industry report.

Europe’s FTSEuroFirst index of leading 300 European shares was up 0.3 per cent at 1,368 points, Germany’s DAX was up 0.4 per cent, and Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.7 per cent.

A recovery in shares of scandal-hit Volkswagen AG, which had lost more than a third of their value in the first two days of this week, also spurred the recovery in European shares.

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned, taking responsibility for the German carmaker’s rigging of US emissions tests. Shares rose 5.9 per cent.

European mining shares were up one per cent after falling to their lowest level since 2009 as copper and nickel advanced.

“Headwinds from the emerging market turmoil are not derailing the euro zone recovery,” said Marco Valli, an economist at Unicredit.

Treasuries prices fell along with German Bunds that typically rise during equity markets downturns. The benchmark 10-year Treasury last yielded 2.17 percent, reflecting a decline in price of 12/32.

Yields on benchmark German bonds also rose as much as 3 basis points. Asian stocks posted their biggest single-day fall since Aug. 24, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 2.3 per cent.

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