European Stocks Advance as Chinese Exports Beat Forecasts

European stocks advanced as an increase in Chinese exports outweighed investor concerns the Federal Reserve will pare bond purchases this year.

BHP Billiton Ltd. rose 3 percent as European commodity producers climbed. Deutsche Telekom AG rose the most in more than two years after second-quarter sales beat forecasts. Commerzbank AG surged 16 percent after profit in the second quarter exceeded estimates. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA slid 2.4 percent after reporting a worse-than-forecast second-quarter loss. Nestle SA fell 2.1 percent after posting the slowest first-half sales growth in four years.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.5 percent to 304.17 at the close of trading. The benchmark has rallied 10 percent since June 24 as the Fed, European Central Bank and the Bank of England pledged to continue stimulus.

“The Chinese trade figures were today’s macro highlight,” Witold Bahrke, a Copenhagen-based senior strategist at PFA Pension A/S, which manages about $55 billion, wrote in an e mail. “Although suspiciously strong, they still offer temporarily relief from the hard-landing fears out there.”

China’s exports and imports rebounded in July more than estimated. Exports rose 5.1 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said in Beijing today. That compared with the median estimate for a 2 percent increase in a Bloomberg News survey and June’s 3.1 percent drop. Imports rose 10.9 percent.

“Even if there’s no sign of the much needed rebalancing in Chinese growth and the economy definitely is slowing, it has still enough vigor to support the global trade motor, which particularly is a positive for European companies,” said Bahrke.

Pianalto Comments

Fed Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto said yesterday there has been “meaningful improvement” in the labor market and that tapering may be warranted if it continues to strengthen. Fed policy makers are weighing data to determine whether the economy has improved enough to begin reducing their $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.

The fewest workers since before the last recession applied for U.S. unemployment benefits over the past month. The number of claims in the four weeks ended Aug. 3 declined to 335,500 on average, the least since November 2007, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. They rose to 333,000 last week, in line with the median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, from 328,000 the prior week.

National benchmark indexes gained in 17 of the 18 western-European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.3 percent, Germany’s DAX Index added 0.7 percent and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.6 percent.

Commodity Producers

A gauge of European commodity producers advanced the most of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, surged 3 percent to 1,899 pence.

Rio Tinto Group gained 2.1 percent to 3,016.5 pence after increasing its dividend by 15 percent to 83.5 cents a share. The world’s second-largest mining company also said first-half profit dropped 18 percent as slowing economic growth in China sapped demand for raw materials, dragging down prices.

Polymetal International Plc, a gold and silver producer, added 6.2 percent to 693 pence and Antofagasta Plc climbed 3.8 percent to 876.5 pence.

Deutsche Telekom rose 7.7 percent to 9.75 euros, its biggest gain since March 2011. Germany’s largest telephone company said revenue climbed 5.4 percent to 15.2 billion euros ($20.3 billion), beating analyst estimates of 14.6 billion euros. Net income increased 10 percent to 530 million euros from a year earlier.

Commerzbank Jumps

Commerzbank soared 16 percent to 7.66 euros, its biggest gain since October 2011. Germany’s second-largest bank reported second-quarter net income of 43 million euros, compared with 270 million euros in the second quarter of last year, beating the 4.6 million-euro average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

SBM Offshore NV surged 8.3 percent to 15.40 euros. The world’s biggest supplier of floating oil-production platforms raised its full-year sales forecast to $4.3 billion from $4 billion.

Delhaize Group SA added 10 percent to 53.20 euros after the owner of the Food Lion supermarket chain raised its forecast for adjusted earnings before interest and taxes in 2013 to at least 780 million euros from 775 million euros.

Adecco SA rose 3.7 percent to 62.40 Swiss francs after the world’s largest provider of temporary workers reported increased profit and said it sees positive signs for business as labor markets in Europe stabilize. Second-quarter net income rose 12 percent to 126 million euros, beating the 112.1 million-euro estimate of eight analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Monte Paschi

Monte Paschi fell 2.4 percent to 20.3 euro cents after reporting a fifth straight quarterly loss. The net loss at the world’s oldest bank narrowed to 279.3 million euros from 1.64 billion euros a year earlier, when Monte Paschi wrote down goodwill and intangible assets by more than 1.5 billion euros. This year’s result was wider than the average estimate for a 149.7 million-euro loss of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, declined 2.1 percent to 63.30 francs. Sales increased 4.1 percent, excluding acquisitions, divestments and currency shifts, the Vevey, Switzerland-based company said today in a statement. The median of 14 analysts’ estimates was for 4.5 percent growth.

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