European stocks rose the most in three weeks as better-than-forecast U.S. consumer-confidence and housing data signaled the world’s largest economy has rebounded from the harsh winter.
EasyJet Plc gained 3.7 percent after forecasting that its loss may narrow in the six months through March. Luxottica Group SpA advanced 4 percent after saying it will design spectacles that use Google Inc.’s Glass technology. Baloise Holding AG (BALN) climbed 2.9 percent after the Swiss insurer unexpectedly increased its dividend.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 1.3 percent to 328.57 at the close in London after yesterday falling the most in two weeks. World equities have regained $2.7 trillion since a low on Feb. 4 as economic data improved and concern dissipated that Russian President Vladimir Putin will seek territory beyond Crimea. Stocks have still lost $270 billion globally this year.
“It still feels like there are people who missed out and there is a lot of support for the market after down days,” said William Hobbs, the London-based head of equity strategy at Barclays Plc’s wealth-management unit. “The world is nowhere near fully invested. Global growth will kick in once the U.S. frees itself from a freezing cold winter and you want to own a slice of that. We expect synchronized and accelerating growth from most of the developed economies.”
In the U.S., the Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index rose to 82.3 this month, exceeding the median estimate of 78.5 in a survey of economists. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S. A separate release showed new house sales in America declined at a slower-than-expected rate last month after climbing in January to the highest level in a year.
German business confidence slipped this month, data showed. The Ifo institute’s business-climate index, based on a survey of executives, fell to 110.7 from 111.3 in February. That missed the 110.9 median economist estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
National benchmark indexes rose in every western-European market that opened today, except Iceland. France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX both gained 1.6 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 jumped 1.3 percent. Greece’s stock market was closed for the country’s Independence Day holiday.
EasyJet climbed 3.7 percent to 1,692 pence. The low-cost airline forecast a pretax loss for the first half of its financial year of 55 million pounds ($91 million) to 65 million pounds, narrower than its Jan. 23 prediction for a loss of as much as 90 million pounds.
Luxottica increased 4 percent to 40.50 euros. The world’s largest maker of glasses will design, develop and sell spectacles that use Google Glass technology, according to a joint statement late yesterday. Google Glass combines a small screen, camera and audio on a device worn at eye level. Luxottica owns the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands.
Baloise climbed 2.9 percent to 112.30 Swiss francs after saying it plans to increase its payout to 4.75 francs ($5.37), more than the Bloomberg dividend forecast of 4.50 francs. The 151-year-old insurer also reported profit that climbed 3.7 percent to 453 million francs last year, missing the 467.8 million-franc average analyst projection compiled by Bloomberg.
A gauge of European mining stocks rallied 2.6 percent. Anglo American Plc increased 4 percent to 1,498 pence as workers at its largest copper mine in Chile returned to work following violent protests yesterday. The company said that normal activity will resume at Los Bronces today as it evaluates the damage to the facility.
Kingfisher Plc (KGF) gained 6 percent to 430.8 pence after saying adjusted pretax profit advanced 4.1 percent to 744 million pounds, more than the 730.2 million-pound average analyst projection compiled by Bloomberg. The British home-improvement chain also said it would return about 200 million pounds to shareholders during its 2015 financial year.
PostNL NV (PNL) rallied 5.7 percent to 3.25 euros, its biggest gain in four months. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded its rating on the Dutch postal company to overweight, similar to a buy recommendation, from neutral, saying the stock has fallen too far since its fourth-quarter results announcement. PostNL dropped 28 percent from Feb. 23 through yesterday.
Royal Mail Plc lost 3.2 percent to 565.5 pence. Britain’s postal service said plans to cut about 1,600 jobs will contribute to a 100 million-pound charge for its 2014 financial year. The company forecast total restructuring costs for the year ending this month of about 230 million pounds, more than its Nov. 27 projection of 160 million pounds.
Leoni AG slid 3.4 percent to 49.36 euros after the maker of industrial cables forecast earnings before interest and taxes of at least 200 million euros this year. Analysts had predicted Ebit of 226 million euros.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at email@example.com Will Hadfield, Alan Soughley