Most stocks drop as Wal-Mart falls while Treasuries pare losses

European Markets

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 percent with the number of shares changing hands 23 percent lower than the 30-day average. The gauge closed unchanged for the week. Aker Solutions ASA, the oil-services provider controlled by billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, plummeted 11 percent in Oslo after reporting weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter margins at most of its units.

The yen reversed earlier gains against the dollar after a G-20 official said the latest draft of the nations’ statement doesn’t echo the Group of Seven view that exchange rates shouldn’t be a target of monetary policy.

The G-20 will urge members to avoid competitive devaluations and to let their exchange rates be set by markets, the official said. The latest draft removes a line from a Feb. 11 draft which said monetary policy should be directed toward price stability, while supporting economic recovery, the aide said.

Bernanke Speaks

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. economy is far from operating at full strength and reiterated his commitment to record easing.

“With unemployment at almost 8 percent, we are still far from the fully healthy and vibrant conditions that we would like to see,” Bernanke said today at a meeting in Moscow of his counterparts from the Group of 20. “The United States is using domestic policy tools to advance domestic objectives.”

Gold, silver and oil tumbled more than 1.4 percent to lead declines in commodities, sending the S&P GSCI Index down 0.5 percent. Wheat rose 1.1 percent after U.S. exports more than doubled in the week ended Feb. 7, U.S. Department of Agriculture figures yesterday showed.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was little changed and capped for a 0.4 percent weekly gain, its largest in a month. Russia’s Micex Index slipped 0.7 percent, while Brazil’s Bovespa slipped 0.3 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies added 0.2 percent on the second day of trading in Hong Kong this week. Markets in Shanghai and Taipei were closed this week for the Lunar New Year.

Bloomberg News

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