European Stocks Gain on Stronger-Than-Forecast U.S. Growth; Vopak Rallies
European stocks rose for a second day, paring the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s third straight weekly drop, as stronger-than-forecast U.S. economic growth eased concern the world’s biggest economy will return to recession.
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA surged 5 percent after the Italian lender more than tripled net income. Royal Vopak NV gained 7.3 percent after the world’s largest chemical- and oil- storage company raised its profit outlook. Carrefour SA, the world’s second-biggest retailer, climbed 3.3 percent as Citigroup Inc. recommended the shares.
The Stoxx 600 advanced 0.6 percent to 251.24 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, erasing an earlier drop of 0.9 percent. The gauge has fallen 0.4 percent this week as lower-than- estimated U.S. home sales and durable-goods orders cast doubt on the strength of the American economy.
“This is just the kind of good data we needed after so many days with bad news from the U.S.,” said Peter Braendle, a fund manager at Swisscanto Asset Management AG in Zurich, which oversees $62 billion. “It shows that not all macro data is terrible and there are some good signs out there for investors.”
Commerce Department figures today showed the U.S. economy grew at a 1.6 percent pace in the second quarter. The revised increase in gross domestic product was better than the 1.4 percent median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and compares with a 2.4 percent estimate issued last month.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. central bank “will do all that it can” to ensure a continuation of the economic recovery and said more securities purchases may be warranted if growth slows. Bernanke spoke at the Kansas City Fed’s annual monetary symposium held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“Equity markets remain under the influence of a lot of conflicting factors,” Andrew Popper, London-based chief investment officer at SG Hambros Bank Ltd. said before Bernanke’s speech. “Although we do not believe in the double- dip scenario we still have to be very cautious,” he told Mark Barton on Bloomberg Television’s Countdown.
National benchmark indexes rose in 15 out of 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.9 percent and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.7 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.9 percent as a report showed the British economy expanded faster than previously estimated in the second quarter.
Monte Paschi gained 5 percent to 95.55 euro cents after Italy’s third-biggest bank reported second-quarter net income that more than tripled to 118.9 million euros ($151 million) and raised its target on cost cutting.
Rival Banca Popolare di Milano Scrl, Italy’s oldest cooperative bank, tumbled 4.5 percent to 3.42 euros after posting a 62 percent drop in second-quarter net income to 20.1 million euros. That missed the 41.6 million-euro average estimate of 10 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
Vopak rallied 7.3 percent to 31.80 euros after the company forecast operating profit of at least 585 million euros, up from a previous estimate of at least 560 million euros, citing increased demand.
Carrefour climbed 3.3 percent to 35.72 euros, the most in more than three months, after Citigroup raised its recommendation to “buy” from “hold.”
Telecommunication shares posted the biggest gain among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Cable & Wireless Worldwide Plc surged 5.7 percent to 66.15 pence. Telecom Italia SpA rallied 3.9 percent to 1.07 euros.
Tullow Oil Falls
Tullow Oil Plc declined 3.8 percent to 1,211 pence after Kampala’s New Vision newspaper reported that Uganda canceled one of its exploration licenses in Lake Albert.
European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. dropped 3.2 percent to 17.39 euros after a report the company’s Airbus unit has reduced its production targets for the A350 airliner. The world’s biggest commercial-aircraft maker now plans to make 10 A350s in 2013, compared with a previous target of 18 airplanes, according to Les Echos.
Commerzbank AG fell 2 percent to 6.27 euros after Handelsblatt reported the bank plans to sell new shares as early as autumn this year to pave the way for an exit by the German government. The newspaper cited unidentified people close to Chief Executive Officer Martin Blessing.