European (SXXP) stocks rose for a fourth day, extending a six-month high, as euro-area finance ministers met in Brussels to discuss a Greek bailout and China cut banks’ reserve requirements to boost growth.
TNT Express NV surged 60 percent after rejecting a takeover offer from United Parcel Service Inc. PostNL NV, a shareholder in TNT, jumped 50 percent. BP Plc (BP/) advanced after an Oppenheimer & Co. analyst said the company may reach a settlement this week on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) climbed 0.8 percent to 268.16 at the close of trading. The benchmark gauge has rallied 9.7 percent this year amid optimism that the euro area will contain its debt crisis and as the U.S. economy continued its recovery.
“It is in most countries’ interest to preserve the European (SXXP) Union and the euro,” said Peter Garnry, an equity strategist at Saxo Bank AS, in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We think there will be a deal, the Chinese will come into the game and play a more stabilizing role for Europe because it is one of their largest export markets.”
Finance ministers are meeting in Brussels to weigh the terms of new loans to Greece and a possible contribution by central banks. They also aim to start a bond exchange with private investors meant to stave off a Greek bankruptcy next month.
“We still have a bit of work to do,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said. “We’ve set out to wrap up the decision on a new aid program for Greece. I’m confident.”
China Eases Policy
China cut the amount of cash that banks must set aside as reserves for the second time in three months to spur lending. Reserve requirements will fall by 50 basis points effective Feb. 24, the People’s Bank of China said.
National benchmarks gained in 17 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index advanced 1 percent, while Germany’s DAX index added 1.5 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.7 percent.
TNT Express surged 60 percent to 10.18 euros after Europe’s second-largest package-delivery company rejected a $6.43 billion takeover offer from UPS. PostNL, which owns almost 30 percent of TNT according to data compiled by Bloomberg, jumped 50 percent to 4.96 euros.
The “highly conditional” bid of 9 euros a share, 42 percent more than the Feb. 17 closing price in Amsterdam, was turned down by TNT’s supervisory and executive boards. UPS said it continues talks.
BP added 2.1 percent to 499.3 pence. The operator of the Macondo well that caused the U.S.’s worst oil spill may reach a deal this week after a partner agreed on fines, said Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer in New York.
Of the 173 Stoxx 600 companies that have reported quarterly earnings since Jan. 9, as many as 76 exceeded analyst estimates, compared with 86 that missed projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) jumped 9.2 percent to 87.65 kroner, its highest since Aug. 2, after fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization beat analysts’ estimates. CGGVeritas, the world’s largest seismic surveyor of oil fields, gained 4.1 percent to 23.66 euros.
An index of mining stocks advanced 1.6 percent for the third-best performance on the Stoxx 600 as metals rallied in London. BHP Billiton Ltd. climbed 2.7 percent to 2,077.5 pence, while Rio Tinto Group added 2.3 percent to 3,706 pence.
Misys Plc advanced 6.6 percent to 330.1 pence. The financial-software maker that agreed to merge with Swiss competitor Temenos Group AG said it received a rival bid from Vista Equity Partners. Vista may put forward an indicative 1.2 billion-pound ($1.9 billion) bid, the Financial Times reported today, citing people close to the deal.
Bayer AG (BAYN) added 2 percent to 57.31 euros after reporting progress in the testing of its treatment for macular edema.
Ageas, the Belgian insurer, slipped 1.5 percent to 1.69 euros after reporting a fourth-quarter net loss of 44.5 million euros.
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