European stocks posted their longest stretch of gains since February as utilities rallied, while investors awaited a Greek vote on aid.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.4 percent to 400.03 at the close of trading. Electricite de France and Iberdrola SA climbed at least 1.7 percent, pushing utilities to the best performance among 19 industry groups.
Greece’s parliament will vote around 10 p.m. local time on a set of reforms tied to fresh bailout. The International Monetary Fund says the country needs more debt relief than what’s on offer. Italy’s FTSE MIB Index added 1.3 percent, the most among western-European markets. While the Athens exchange remains shut through Wednesday, a U.S.-listed exchange-traded fund tracking Greek shares rose 6.7 percent.
“We’re making two steps forward, one step back on the Greek issue,” said John Haynes, head of research at Investec Wealth & Investment in London. “The market expects the parliament to vote for the austerity package.”
Optimism over Greece has helped the Stoxx 600 rebound 7.3 percent from a July 7 low, after falling almost 10 percent from an April record.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said officials expect the U.S. economy to strengthen through the rest of the year and the jobless rate to decline, keeping the central bank on track for a 2015 rate increase.
Among shares active on corporate news, Syngenta AG added 4.2 percent after Paulson & Co. was said to take a stake in the Swiss pesticide company in a sign of supporting Monsanto Co.’s takeover attempt. Rubis SCA jumped to a 16-year high after Berenberg Bank said deals will continue to boost its growth and raised its price estimate on the shares to imply a 28 percent gain from yesterday’s close.
ASML Holding NV advanced 4.3 percent after the upper end of its third-quarter sales forecast exceeded analysts’ estimates. Burberry Group Plc slid 2.6 percent after saying Asian revenue declined as a drop in Hong Kong sales worsened.
Auto stocks were the worst performers among Stoxx 600 groups after Credit Suisse Group AG warned of risks from China and Europe. Volkswagen AG and Continental AG declined at least 1.4 percent.