European stocks climbed, completing their biggest two-day gain in four months, as banks advanced on further speculation that the euro area will introduce an asset-purchase program.
BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA both gained more than 1.5 percent. WPP Plc added 1.4 percent as the advertising agency posted sales that beat projections. Telecity Group Plc declined the most in six months after the operator of data centers said its chief executive officer will step down.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.7 percent to 342.96 at the close of trading. The benchmark has climbed 5.6 percent from the five-month low it reached on August 8 as concern waned that the conflict in eastern Ukraine would disrupt world trade. European equities rallied 1.1 percent yesterday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled that he will start asset purchases known as quantitative easing.
“Banks are performing well today due to the latest statements from Mario Draghi to keep the option of quantitative easing open in the near future, which would help the banks with bad-performing assets and give relief to their balance sheets,” Guillermo Hernandez Sampere, who helps manage about 105 million euros ($138 million) at Eppstein, Germany-based MPPM EK, said in a phone interview.
In the U.S., a Commerce Department report showed orders for durable goods climbed last month at the fastest rate in data going back to 1992. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years jumped 22.6 percent in July. They gained a revised 2.7 percent in June.
European banks contributed the most to the Stoxx 600’s advance. Lenders from the euro area’s most indebted countries rallied for a second day following Draghi’s speech at the symposium of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. BNP Paribas climbed 2.1 percent to 51.30 euros, and Societe Generale added 1.7 percent to 39.32 euros. National Bank of Greece SA rose 5 percent to 2.73 euros.
Portugal led gains in European equity markets. The PSI 20 Index climbed 1.7 percent as Banco Comercial Portugues SA advanced 3.5 percent to 9.8 euro cents. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.7 percent, Germany’s DAX rallied 0.8 percent and France’s CAC 40 jumped 1.2 percent.
WPP increased 1.4 percent to 1,244 pence. The world’s largest advertising agency reported that first-half revenue rose 2.7 percent to 5.47 billion pounds ($9.1 billion) from a year earlier. That beat the average analyst estimate of 5.13 billion pounds in a Bloomberg survey. The company also said that investment in data analytics and other technologies would enable it to meet long-term financial targets.
Voestalpine AG advanced 3.3 percent to 32.65 euros after UBS AG upgraded the steelmaker’s shares to buy from sell. The brokerage said the Austrian commodity producer will benefit from falling iron-ore prices. UBS projected that the stock will climb to 36 euros.
Telecity slumped 6 percent to 716 pence after announcing that Michael Tobin will leave after 10 years as CEO. The shares have more than doubled since the company’s initial public offering in October 2007.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S slid 5.5 percent to 241.50 kroner. Bank of America Corp. downgraded the wind-turbine manufacturer to underperform from neutral, meaning that investors should sell the shares. The brokerage said the U.S. government may take longer to reintroduce tax incentives for wind turbines than expected. The U.S. allowed a previous set of tax breaks to expire in January.
The volume of shares changing hands in Stoxx 600-listed companies was 12 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.