European stocks advanced for a second day, trimming the biggest weekly decline in two months, as euro-area consumer confidence and U.K. economic growth exceeded forecasts.
Glencore Xstrata Plc and Rio Tinto Group led gains in mining companies. FLSmidth & Co. A/S rallied the most in more than 2 1/2 years as the maker of cement production lines announced job cuts. Croda International Plc rose 4.3 percent as Deutsche Bank AG upgraded the maker of cosmetics ingredients.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.4 percent to 304.71 at the close of trading in London, as a European Central Bank official said the euro area’s improving economy has removed the need to cut interest rates further. The equity benchmark has still lost 0.5 percent this week, the most since June 21, amid speculation the Federal Reserve will start paring its bond-buying program as soon as next month.
“We’re seeing a more risk-on attitude at the moment, although volumes are still thin,” said Espen Furnes, who helps oversee $75 billion as a fund manager at Storebrand Asset Management in Oslo. “The resurrection of Europe is a theme that is getting more and more attention. You see that most clearly in the increasing optimism towards the periphery.”
The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the Stoxx 600 was 12 percent lower than the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Euro-area consumer sentiment rose to the highest level in two years in August, European Commission data showed today. The index of household confidence increased to minus 15.6 from minus 17.4 in July. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg had called for minus 16.5.
U.K. gross domestic product increased 0.7 percent in the second quarter from the previous period, when it rose 0.3 percent, the Office for National Statistics said in London. That compared with an initial estimate of 0.6 percent.
ECB Governing Council Member Ewald Nowotny said late yesterday that good economic reports from the euro zone mean the central bank has no reason to lower interest rates further from their record low of 0.5 percent.
Releases this month have shown German manufacturing expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in July, while the gross domestic product of the 17 countries in the euro area increased in the three months through June, following six quarters of contraction.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 15 of the 18 western European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.7 percent, Germany’s DAX increased 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 added 0.3 percent.
A gauge of mining companies was among the best performers in the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Glencore rose 1 percent to 317 pence and Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest mining company, added 0.8 percent to 3,069 pence. Anglo American Plc advanced 1.3 percent to 1,524.5 pence.
FLSmidth surged 9.8 percent to 320.80 kroner, the biggest jump since November 2010. The company said it will cut 1,100 jobs and close down more than 20 global locations in an effort to reduce costs, after second-quarter earnings trailed analysts’ projections.
“The cost-cutting programme is more aggressive than we expected,” Nordea Bank AB analyst Patrik Setterberg wrote in a report.
Croda climbed 4.3 percent to 2,677 pence after Deutsche Bank raised its recommendation on the world’s second-biggest maker of cosmetic ingredients to buy from hold, saying it expects sales growth to improve in the second half of the year and 2014.
ING Groep NV rose 2.4 percent to 8.78 euros after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the shares to overweight, similar to buy, from equal weight, saying the Dutch lender’s net-interest margin is likely to increase.
Bachem Holding AG rallied 3.4 percent to 46.95 Swiss francs after the maker of pharmaceutical ingredients reported first-half net income of 10.4 million francs ($11.3 million), from 7.3 million francs a year earlier.
Yara International ASA, the largest publicly traded maker of nitrogen fertilizer, slipped 2.8 percent to 250.60 kroner. Deutsche Bank AG cut its rating on the shares to sell from hold, saying it expects supply and demand in the global urea market to weaken in the second half of the year and beyond.