European stocks climbed the most in three weeks, led by a gain in commodity producers and a surge in Societe Generale SA after it reported its highest profit since the financial crisis.
Shares of France’s second-largest bank by market value rallied 7.9 percent, the most in two years. Legal & General Group Plc climbed 2.8 percent after the biggest manager of U.K. pension assets posted first-half profit that beat analysts’ estimates amid a jump in inflows. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group advanced at least 3.5 percent.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 1.3 percent to 403.93 at the close of trading in London, for a sixth gain in seven days. Its miners surged the most since April.
“We’ve had some decent results in banks, and it’s turning out to be an all-right earnings season, one of the better ones we’ve had,” said William Hobbs, head of investment strategy at Barclays Plc’s wealth-management unit in London. “We could find earnings growth continuing to accelerate throughout the rest of the year, which could see earnings surprise very positively by the end of the year.”
A surge in equity-trading revenue is helping earnings at European banks. UniCredit SpA jumped 6.4 percent after Italy’s biggest bank reported an increase in quarterly profit. Mediobanca SpA rose 1.8 percent after raising its dividend.
Those gains helped push Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB Index up 1.9 percent, the most among major western-European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index climbed 1.7 percent and Germany’s DAX Index rose 1.6 percent, with a rally in automakers further adding to the gains. The Swiss Market Index rose 0.5 percent, closing at its highest level since 2007.
The Stoxx 600 has rebounded 8.4 percent from its low last month. Concern that Greece may leave the euro eased, while earnings and takeover activity further propelled shares. Final data on Wednesday showed a gauge tracking the services industry in the euro area slipped less than initially estimated.
Beiersdorf AG rose 3.7 percent as the maker of Nivea cream and Labello lip balm reported profit that topped analysts’ estimates. Ryanair Holdings Plc added 2.3 percent after posting an increase in traffic for July.
ING Groep NV fell 3.5 percent as the biggest Dutch lender posted net income that missed analysts’ projections. Neste Oyj lost 8.9 percent as profit fell short of estimates.
In Greece, where the market reopened after a five-week shutdown, stocks dropped for a third day, with the ASE Index losing 2.5 percent on Wednesday. A gauge tracking the nation’s banks tumbled to a record. Piraeus Bank SA and Alpha Bank AE sank 30 percent.
The Stoxx 600 has advanced 18 percent in 2015. Markets in Italy and France are among the best performers in the developed world this year.