European stocks advanced, posting their biggest weekly gain this year, as better-than-forecast euro-area economic growth and U.S. consumer-confidence reports outweighed worse-than-estimated U.S. industrial output data.
ThyssenKrupp AG rose the most since May after Germany’s largest steelmaker reported first-quarter profit that beat analyst predictions. Fresnillo Plc led a gauge of commodity producers higher as gold and silver prices increased. Schindler (SCHP) Holding AG dropped 1 percent after the maker of elevators said annual profit fell 37 percent.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.6 percent to 333.32 at the close of trading. The gauge rose 2.5 percent this week, its biggest weekly advance since Dec. 20, as comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen fueled optimism the U.S. economy can withstand reduced monthly bond purchases.
“Despite weaker industrial production, we see investors remain calm,” said Kai Fachinger, who oversees about $700 million as portfolio manager at RobecoSAM AG in Zurich. “For the moment, underlying sentiment remains positive. Also, macroeconomic news out of Europe was good today, so that provides a bit of a cushion.”
The euro-area economy expanded faster in the final quarter of 2013 than economists forecast, led by Germany and France, data from the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg showed. Gross domestic product in the euro zone rose 0.3 percent after a 0.1 percent increase in the third quarter, beating the median forecast of 0.2 percent in a Bloomberg News survey.
Preliminary data showed that U.S. consumer confidence was unchanged in February. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index remained at 81.2 this month, the same as in January. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 74 economists called for a drop to 80.2.
Factory production in the U.S. unexpectedly declined in January by the most since May 2009, according to Federal Reserve figures published today in Washington.
The 0.8 percent decrease at manufacturers followed a revised 0.3 percent gain the prior month that was weaker than initially reported. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.1 percent advance. Total industrial production dropped 0.3 percent.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 17 of the 18 western-European markets today. France’s CAC 40 added 0.6 percent, Germany’s DAX gained 0.7 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent.
Italy’s FTSE MIB advanced 1.6 percent to the highest level since July 2011 as Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigned, possibly clearing the way for a new government led by his chief rival Matteo Renzi.
ThyssenKrupp climbed 3.8 percent to 20.46 euros. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations before interest and taxes more than doubled to 247 million euros ($338 million) in the fiscal first quarter, exceeding the 218.7 million-euro average of 10 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
A gauge of European mining companies posted the second-best performance of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 as the price of gold rose to the highest since November and silver posted its longest rally since March 2008.
Fresnillo, which produces gold and silver in Mexico, climbed 5.3 percent to 971.5 pence. Polymetal International Plc gained 3.3 percent to 657.5 pence.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc increased 4.7 percent to 1,303 pence after the maker of generic drugs raised its full-year revenue growth forecast to about 23 percent from a previous prediction of about 20 percent.
Ladbrokes Plc added 2.8 percent to 149.7 pence after UBS AG raised the U.K. operator of betting shops to buy from neutral, citing recent declines in the share price. Ladbrokes has fallen 16 percent so far this year.
Schindler declined 1 percent to 132 Swiss francs after the company said net profit in 2013 fell to 463 million francs ($519 million) from 730 million francs a year earlier. Schindler also said sales rose 8.4 percent in local currencies to 8.81 billion francs, beating analyst estimates of 8.76 billion francs.
Investment AB Kinnevik (KINVB) slumped 12 percent to 238.10 kronor, for its biggest drop since July 2006. The publicly traded investment vehicle of Sweden’s Stenbeck family said future dividend growth won’t match that of previous years as it seeks to balance investment with payments to shareholders.
The volume of shares changing hands in Stoxx 600 companies was 8.3 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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