European stocks rose the most in more than a month this week, erasing their losses for the year, on better-than-forecast confidence data.
Luxottica Group SpA jumped the most since May 2009 after saying it will design spectacles that use Google Inc.’s Glass technology. Marine Harvest ASA pushed food and beverage stocks higher after agreeing to sell U.K. farming assets and saying it may pay a greater quarterly dividend. Resolution Ltd. and Prudential Plc fell more than 4 percent each after the U.K. financial regulator said it will investigate possible unfair charges levied on life-insurance policies.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 1.8 percent to 333.76 this week, paring this month’s loss to 1.3 percent. The gauge dropped the first two weeks of March as concern grew that the crisis in Ukraine would escalate. The Stoxx 600 has climbed 1.7 percent this year.
“There’s optimism in the European markets,” said Ramiro Loureiro, a Lisbon-based market analyst at Banco Comercial Portugues SA’s Millennium unit. “The improvement in several confidence indicators spanning many areas of the European economy has naturally motivated investors.”
A gauge of economic confidence in the euro area rose for an 11th straight month in March to its highest level since July 2011. In Germany, research company GfK forecast that its consumer-confidence index will remain at a seven-year high in April. The Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index in the U.S. also rose more than estimated.
Benchmark indexes climbed in 15 of the 18 western-European markets tracked by Bloomberg this week. Germany’s DAX gained 2.6 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.9 percent, and France’s CAC 40 rallied 1.8 percent.
Luxottica (LUX) jumped 9.6 percent. The world’s largest maker of glasses will design, develop and sell spectacles that use Google Glass technology, according to a March 24 statement. Google Glass combines a small screen, camera and audio on a device worn at eye level. Luxottica owns the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands.
Marine Harvest rallied 8.6 percent. The largest salmon farmer agreed to sell U.K. farming assets to Cooke Aquaculture Inc., saying the completion will probably increase its potential dividend for the first quarter.
A gauge of food and beverage stocks rallied 4.5 percent, the biggest weekly jump since May 2010 and the most among 19 industry groups. Heineken NV rose 7.5 percent, its largest weekly advance since September 2012. Pernod Ricard SA added 5 percent, snapping a four-week losing streak, as Deutsche Bank AG upgraded the distiller to hold from sell. SABMiller Plc, the world’s second-biggest brewer, jumped 6.8 percent for its best week since November 2012.
Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentacion SA rose 7.3 percent as people familiar with the matter said the Spanish retailer is considering selling its French business. The company is exploring options, including a divestment of its 865 French stores as early as this year, they said.
Pirelli & C. SpA (PC) climbed 6 percent after the Italian tiremaker reported earnings before interest and taxes of 791 million euros ($1.1 billion) in 2013, exceeding the average analyst projection compiled by Bloomberg.
Resolution slid 6.6 percent, Prudential dropped 4.3 percent and Aviva Plc lost 2.1 percent. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority said its plan for this year’s priorities, to be published on March 31, will include an inquiry into the treatment of long-standing life-insurance customers.
Hennes & Mauritz AB retreated 5.1 percent for its worst week since September 2012. Europe’s second-biggest clothing retailer said net income rose 7.8 percent to 2.65 billion kronor ($408 million) in the first quarter, falling short of the 2.89-billion kronor average analyst estimate. Profitability (HMB) dropped in the period from a year earlier, also missing projections.
Daily Mail & General Trust Plc fell 11 percent, the most since July 2011. The newspaper publisher reduced the outlook for its risk-management solutions business.
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