European stocks climbed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index extending its highest level since June 2008, as companies from ING Groep NV to Deutsche Telekom AG posted quarterly earnings that beat estimates.
ING added 3.1 percent as it also said it will bring forward the sale of a stake in its European insurer. Deutsche Telekom jumped the most since July. Delhaize Group SA rose 1.4 percent after saying its chief executive officer will step down by the end of this year. Standard Chartered Plc slid the most in nine months after operating profit fell in the first quarter.
The Stoxx 600 rose 0.6 percent to 303.67 at the close. The benchmark gauge rallied yesterday to its highest level since June 2008 as companies from HSBC Holdings Plc to Allianz SE reported earnings that beat estimates. It has gained 8.6 percent so far in 2013, its best start to a year since 2006.
“We’ve had a very good start to the year,” said Veronika Pechlaner, who helps oversee about $1.5 billion as investment manager at Jersey, Channel Islands-based Ashburton Ltd. “The earnings season so far looks reasonably good, though the hurdle was quite low to start with. Now you’ve got to look at the revenue outlook for the rest of the year.”
German industrial production increased for a second month in March, a report showed. Production rose 1.2 percent from February, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast a 0.1 percent decline.
In China, a report from the General Administration of Customs showed that exports rose 14.7 percent in April. That exceeded the 9.2 percent median forecast of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Imports climbed 16.8 percent, compared with the average projection of 13 percent. The trade surplus for the world’s second-largest economy widened to $18.2 billion.
National benchmark indexes gained in 13 of the 18 western-European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 added 0.9 percent and Germany’s DAX jumped 0.8 percent. Sweden’s OMX Stockholm 30 rose 1.1 percent as it closed early on the eve of Ascension Day.
ING climbed 3.1 percent to 6.79 euros as the Dutch lender posted first-quarter net income of 1.8 billion euros ($2.4 billion). That beat the 1.48 billion euros average prediction of analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The financial-services company registered a 950 million-euro gain for the period from selling assets in Hong Kong, Thailand and Macau.
Chief Executive Officer Jan Hommen said in a statement that the company will hold an initial public offering for its European insurance business in 2014. ING plans to save 1 billion euros a year by 2015.
Deutsche Telekom gained 4.7 percent to 9.56 euros after posting first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, adjusted for some items, of 4.29 billion euros. That beat the 4.24 billion-euro average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Germany’s biggest phone company said that its U.S. mobile-phone customers rose for the first time in 15 months.
Delhaize rose 1.4 percent to 48.85 euros after the owner of the Food Lion supermarket chain said in a statement that Pierre-Olivier Beckers will stand down as CEO. Delhaize also reported a first-quarter profit of 61 million euros.
Teleperformance SA jumped 6.2 percent to 36.24 euros, its highest price since January 2001, after saying so-called organic sales grew by 12 percent in the first quarter, driven by business in Latin America.
The French operator of call centers also said its margin on earnings before interest, taxes and amortization, excluding one-off items, will grow by 9.3 percent to 9.5 percent in 2013, confirming its previous guidance.
Standard Chartered dropped 4.4 percent to 1,625 pence, its biggest plunge since August 2012. Britain’s second-largest lender by market value said first-quarter operating profit declined because wholesale-banking revenue decreased.
“The group had a very strong start to the year in January, but momentum slowed later in the quarter,” the lender said in a statement.
Telefonica SA slid 0.9 percent to 11.18 euros as Spain’s largest telecommunications operator said operating income before depreciation and amortization fell 10 percent in the first quarter to 4.57 billion euros. That missed the average analyst projection for 4.75 billion euros. The company said competition hurt sales in Latin America and Europe.
Brenntag AG slipped 6.7 percent to 122.15 euros, the most since its initial public offering in March 2010, as the world’s largest distributor of chemicals reported first-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.
“Due to the macroeconomic uncertainty, and under the assumption of no recovery in the overall economic environment, we expect growth at a slower pace,” the company said.