French Stocks Rise to Six-Month High; Alstom, Axa Are Active

French stocks advanced to their highest level since April after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced an additional $600 billion of bond purchases to bolster the economic recovery. France’s CAC 40 Index surged 1.9 percent to 3,916.78 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Paris, while the SBF 120 Index rose 1.8 percent to 2,920.01.

The following stocks rose or fell in the French equity market. Company symbols are in parentheses.

Alcatel-Lucent SA (ALU FP) slumped 7.9 percent to 2.33 euros, its biggest drop since February. France’s largest telecommunications equipment maker reported an operating margin below some analysts’ estimates. Alcatel reported an adjusted gross margin of 33.8 percent in the third quarter, compared with

33.4 percent a year ago, even as it posted a surprise 25 million euro ($35.6 million) profit aided by a one-time pension gain and higher sales.

“The margin wasn’t as good as expected, and the surprise was more based on financial factors than operations,” Mirko Maier, an analyst at Landesbank Baden-Wuertemmberg in Stuttgart, said by phone.

Alstom SA (ALO FP) lost 1.7 percent to 35.80 euros as the world’s third-largest power-equipment maker reported a worse-than-estimated 29 percent drop in first-half profit after utility companies delayed orders for power plants. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kron said that the company faces pressure on margins.

Axa SA (CS FP) rallied 2.8 percent to 13.44 euros as Europe’s second-biggest insurer was raised to “hold” from “sell” at ING Group NV.

BNP Paribas SA (BNP FP) jumped 3.7 percent to 54.37 euros, the biggest advance in a month. France’s biggest bank reported a 46 percent increase in third-quarter profit, helped by its consumer-banking networks in France, Belgium and the U.S.

Net income rose to 1.91 billion euros from 1.31 billion euros a year earlier, the Paris-based company said in a statement today, beating the 1.75 billion-euro average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The jump in retail earnings more than offset lower corporate- and investment-banking profit.

Competitor Societe Generale SA (GLE FP), France’s second-largest bank, surged 4.5 percent to 44.85 euros. The lender was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Macquarie Group Ltd.

Cap Gemini SA (CAP FP), Europe’s largest computer-services company, lost 4.5 percent to 34.95 euros after Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Dufourcq said sales growth is likely to be at the low end of forecasts.

European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. (EAD FP) slumped

4.1 percent to 18.26 euros, the biggest decline since July. Airbus SAS has started an investigation into the Qantas Airways-operated A380 that had to make an emergency landing in Singapore today after one of its four Rolls-Royce Group Plc engines failed during a flight. Rolls Royce said it will cooperate with the authorities. Airbus has no information yet on what caused the incident, spokesman Sean Lee said in a telephone interview.

Imerys SA (NK FP) soared 6.6 percent to 46.35 euros, the biggest gain since May. The French mineral processing company reported nine-month net income of 186.3 million euros, compared with 33.6 million euros a year earlier.

Lafarge SA (LG FP), the world’s biggest cement maker, gained 5.7 percent to 45.24 euros. Competitor HeidelbergCement AG rose the most in almost six months in Frankfurt trading as its third-quarter profit more than doubled, beating estimates.

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC FP) rose 2.8 percent to 119.20 euros, its sixth straight advance and the longest winning streak this year. The world’s largest luxury-goods maker isn’t ready to sell its 17.1 percent in Hermes International SCA, Chief Executive Officer Bernard Arnault said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.

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