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Erste, Komercni Lift Czech Stocks Before EU Meeting, U.S. Data

Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Erste Group Bank AG led Czech shares higher as investors awaited data that may show the U.S. economy is improving and amid optimism European policy makers will act to resolve the region’s debt crisis.

Erste of Austria added 2.7 percent to 408.7 koruna in Prague. Komercni Banka As, the Czech unit of Societe Generale SA, advanced 2.1 percent to 3,850 koruna. The PX equity index, in which the two lenders have a 39 percent weighting, rose 1.2 percent to 950.50 at the close, rebounding from yesterday’s 1 percent slide.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of euro-area finance ministers, visits Athens tomorrow to hear Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s request for a two-year extension to the country’s fiscal-adjustment program. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin on Aug. 23. U.S. home sales and durable goods orders probably increased in July, economists said before reports this week.

“Optimism regarding the U.S. data and expectations that there will be a shift in European debt crisis after the meetings are boosting the market,” Jiri Simara, an analyst with Cyrrus AS in Prague, said by phone today. “Financial stocks are most sensitive to that and there is also a correction of yesterday’s losses.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Lenka Ponikelska in Prague at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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