European stocks advanced, extending a second weekly gain for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as companies from Fresenius SE to Kabel Deutschland Holding AG rallied following mergers-and-acquisitions activity.
Fresenius rose 3.6 percent after its Helios subsidiary agreed to buy 43 hospitals from Rhoen-Klinikum AG. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc both dropped at least 2 percent, contributing the most to a decline by a gauge of commodity producers. TDC A/S fell 3.1 percent as a group of private-equity firms sold its stake in Denmark’s biggest phone company.
The Stoxx 600 rose 0.2 percent to 311.46 at the close in London after earlier dropping as much as 0.4 percent. The equity benchmark gained 1.8 percent this week as investors awaited the next Federal Reserve meeting, while a report showed that Chinese exports grew at a faster-than-expected pace.
“With acceptable macro data and some progress on the Syria issue, sentiment seems to have slightly improved,” said Anja Hochberg, the chief investment officer for Europe and Switzerland at Credit Suisse Group AG in Zurich. “In spite of our optimistic medium- to longer-term outlook, we stay on the sidelines for the time being. Markets are eagerly awaiting the Fed meeting next week.”
The Stoxx 600 fell from its highest level in more than five years yesterday as a report showed the euro area’s industrial output contracted more than forecast.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva to discuss a deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the administration of President Barack Obama must stop its military threats and cease arming rebel groups for the nation to give up its chemical arsenal. Obama delayed a decision on military action after Russia proposed putting the chemical weapons under international control.
In the U.S., a Commerce Department report showed that retail sales rose at a slower pace in August. Purchases climbed 0.2 percent, after increasing a revised 0.4 percent in July. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey had called for sales to increase 0.5 percent.
The retail report was one of the last pieces of data before the Fed meeting on Sept. 17-18 when policy makers will discuss whether to reduce their monthly bond purchases. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said that the central bank may consider tapering if the economy continues to grow in line with its forecasts.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 11 of the 18 western-European markets. France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX each rose 0.2 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent.
Fresenius increased 3.6 percent to 91.10 euros and Rhoen-Klinikum rallied 11 percent to 19.45 euros. The boards of both German companies endorsed the deal for Fresenius’s Helios unit to buy 43 hospitals from Rhoen-Klinikum. The deal requires regulatory approval and the support of minority shareholders and the former owners of some of the hospitals. Fresenius said that the purchase will add 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in annual revenue and 250 million euros in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Kabel Deutschland jumped 6.3 percent to 91.82 euros. Vodafone Group Plc said that at least 75 percent of the German company’s shareholders supported its 7.7 billion-euro bid before yesterday’s deadline expired. Kabel Deutschland investors who haven’t tendered their shares will get a second chance to do so from Sept. 17 to Sept. 30.
Carlsberg A/S gained 1.6 percent to 579 kroner. The brewer predicted that it will sustain the 5 percent organic-sales growth in the China from the first half.
Separately, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised the stock to neutral, the equivalent of hold, from sell. The brokerage cited the improving economy in Europe and cost-saving measures.
BHP Billiton slid 2 percent to 1,885 pence and Anglo American, the world’s largest platinum producer, lost 3.2 percent to 1,568.5 pence as a gauge of mining companies posted the biggest decline of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
TDC dropped 3.1 percent to 46.41 kroner as a group of private-equity firms sold its stake in the company for 4.17 billion-krone ($743 million). NTC sold 90 million shares at 46.30 kroner apiece. That amounted to an 11 percent stake in TDC, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. which managed the sale.
Gerry Weber International AG sank 8.1 percent to 29.42 euros, its biggest slump since October 2011. The German apparel maker posted third-quarter net income of 11.5 million euros, missing the average analyst estimate of 12.8 million euros. The company also cut its forecast for earnings before interest and taxes in the year through October to 105 million euros. It had predicted Ebit of 120 million euros.
The volume of shares changing hands in Stoxx 600-listed companies was 15 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.