Benelux Stocks: Akzo Nobel, Randstad, Reed Elsevier, Solvay

The Netherlands’ AEX-Index advanced 1.5, or 0.4 percent, to 372.99 in Amsterdam, the highest since September 2008. Belgium’s Bel20 Index added 0.6 percent to 2,770.81, a fifth day of gains.

The following were among the most active stocks in Benelux markets today. Symbols are in parentheses.

Dutch stocks:

Akzo Nobel NV (AKZA NA) added 3.3 percent to 50.14 euros, the highest level since June 2008. The world’s biggest paintmaker reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates, driven by paint demand in Asia and sales of polymers and personal-care ingredients.

Randstad Holding NV (RAND NA) lost 5.2 percent to 39.80 euros, the biggest decline since June 2009. The world’s second-largest staffing company reported fourth-quarter net income of 136.6 million euros and said the trends as witnessed in the final three months of 2010 have so far continued into 2011.

Randstad’s results and outlook are “not enough to move the needle,” Rabo Securities analysts said in a note to investors.

Reed Elsevier NV (REN NA) fell 1.9 percent to 9.808 euros, a fourth consecutive drop. The owner of the LexisNexis database said full-year profit and revenue were little changed. Chief Executive Officer Erik Engstrom said he expects a gradual recovery and continued improvement in performance this year, adding that the company is targeting some small acquisitions and aims to get out of less profitable businesses.

Belgian stocks:

EVS Broadcast Equipment SA (EVS BB) declined 4 percent to 44.01 euros, the biggest plunge since Nov. 23. The world’s largest supplier of digital disk recorders for outside broadcast trucks said net income for the fourth quarter fell to 8.2 million euros ($11.2 million) from 9.4 million euros.

Solvay SA (SOLB BB) surged 4.8 percent to 84.17 euros, the highest since Sept. 2008. The world’s largest soda-ash maker said earnings before interest, tax and one-time items from continuing operations rose 75 percent to 155 million euros. The median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was for operating profit of 124 million euros.

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