European stocks advanced to a two-week high as a report showed that hiring in the U.S. last month increased more than forecast.
Beiersdorf AG surged to the highest price in more than 16 years after raising its 2012 sales-growth forecast. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG led carmakers higher, gaining at least 1.5 percent each. Alcatel-Lucent SA tumbled 5.5 percent after it swung to a third-quarter loss.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.4 percent to 274.85 at the close of trading. The gauge completed a weekly rally of 1.6 percent as data from China and the U.S. beat estimates and as companies reported better-than-forecast earnings. The measure has surged 18 percent from this year’s low on June 4.
“The U.S. unemployment figures were better than expected and a positive for the markets,” said Gerard Lane, a strategist at Shore Capital Group Ltd. in Liverpool, England. “If this pace of economic growth can continue and we don’t see a fiscal cliff, markets may carry on going up.”
The fiscal cliff refers to $607 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect at the start of the next year unless Congress breaks a deadlock in budget discussions.
Hiring in the U.S. increased by 171,000 in October, following a revised 148,000 a month earlier, Labor Department figures showed today. That compares with the 125,000 projected by economists in a Bloomberg survey. Private payrolls, which exclude government jobs, rose by 184,000 last month after a revised 128,000 in September. The unemployment rate climbed to 7.9 percent.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 16 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent and Germany’s DAX added 0.4 percent.
Beiersdorf jumped 7.2 percent to 60.70 euros, the highest price since at least January 1996, after the maker of Nivea skin-care products raised its 2012 forecast for sales growth to as much as 4 percent, from a previous prediction of 3 percent.
A gauge of carmakers rose 1.2 percent for the second-best performance among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. BMW advanced 2.7 percent to 65 euros after saying U.S. sales climbed 21 percent in October. Daimler added 1.6 percent to 37.09 euros.
Telekom Austria AG gained 2.6 percent to 4.99 euros after Format magazine said the government will approve the company’s 390 million-euro ($502 million) bid to acquire 750,000 prepaid mobile clients from Orange Austria’s Yesss! unit.
Siemens AG added 1.5 percent to 79.56 euros. Europe’s biggest engineering firm will report “very good” 2012 results, Austria’s Die Presse newspaper cited its Chief Executive Officer Peter Loescher as saying in an interview.
Chemring Group Plc advanced 6.4 percent to 277.30 pence. UBS AG said in a note Carlyle Group LP is probably continuing a due diligence process on the U.K. munitions supplier. Chemring cut its full-year earnings target on Oct. 31, sparking a selloff on speculation Carlyle will end takeover talks.
Alcatel-Lucent slumped 5.5 percent to 77.9 euro cents after posting a third-quarter net loss of 146 million euros, compared with a profit of 194 million euros a year earlier. The phone-equipment maker, whose shares have dropped 36 percent so far this year, is France’s most-shorted stock, based on data compiled by financial-information provider Markit, signaling a growing number of investors are predicting further declines.
Deutsche Telekom AG dropped 2.6 percent to 8.66 euros. The company may cut its dividend from next year by as much as a third, Handelsblatt reported, citing unidentified supervisory board members.
Admiral Group Plc lost 5.3 percent to 1,081 pence after saying third-quarter revenue fell 2 percent to 570 million pounds ($918 million) from a year earlier.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc slid 2.1 percent to 738.5 pence after saying it expects a full-year loss of about $15 million from its generics division, compared with a previous forecast that it would break even. “We are reviewing this business and are considering all strategic options,” the company said.