European Stocks Jump to Highest Since ’08; Aberdeen RisesCorinne Gretler
European shares rose to their highest level in more than five years before a publication of Federal Open Market Committee minutes later this week.
Aberdeen Asset Management Plc jumped 15 percent after Lloyds Banking Group Plc agreed to sell its Scottish Widows Investment Partnership division to the money manager. Sonova Holding AG rose 5.4 percent as the world’s largest hearing-aid maker raised its full-year forecast and said first-half revenue beat analyst estimates. Petrofac Ltd. plunged 17 percent.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.5 percent to 324.70 at the close of trading in London. The benchmark gauge rose for six straight weeks as signs emerged the Federal Reserve won’t rush to reduce the pace of its stimulus, outweighing data that showed the euro-area economic recovery is faltering.
“Investors will watch the U.S. this week, with a special focus on the last meeting of the Fed that will feed debate on the development of monetary policy,” said John Plassard, vice president at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva. “We are also expecting several economic data out of Europe this week, which market participants are waiting for. We’ll see a wait-and-see attitude until the data give us a clearer direction.”
The volume of shares changing hands in Stoxx 600 companies was 19 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The FOMC will release minutes from its Oct. 29-30 meeting on Nov. 20. The minutes will probably reveal more details on the debate behind the decision to press on with the record $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. Economists in a Bloomberg survey estimate that policy makers will wait until a March 18-19 meeting to begin tapering monthly buying to $70 billion.
In Europe, a report on Nov. 21 may show that a composite index of euro-area services and manufacturing rose to 52 this month from 51.9 in October.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 15 of the 18 western-European markets today. France’s CAC 40 added 0.7 percent and Germany’s DAX rose 0.6 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 increased 0.5 percent.
Aberdeen gained 15 percent to 489.7 pence. Lloyds, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, agreed to sell its Scottish Widows Investment division to Aberdeen for 560 million pounds ($903 million).
The lender will receive a 9.9 percent stake in Scotland’s largest money manager, the companies said in a statement today. Aberdeen may pay a further 100 million pounds in cash over five years depending on the performance of partnership under which the fund manager will manage assets on behalf of the bank. Lloyds climbed 1.1 percent to 76.2 pence.
Sonova advanced 5.4 percent to 124.70 Swiss francs after predicting that annual earnings before interest, taxes and amortization would grow as much as 14 percent, compared with a previous forecast of 9 percent to 13 percent. Sales will increase 8 percent to 10 percent, up from an earlier projection of 6 percent to 8 percent.
The company also said revenue in the first half amounted to 947.8 million francs ($1.04 billion), exceeding the 926.6 million francs analysts had estimated.
Medica SA jumped 4.8 percent to 21 euros. Korian agreed to buy Medica for 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in a deal that will create the largest French operator of nursing homes. Medica holders will receive Korian stock valued at about 23.01 euros a share, the companies said in a statement today. That’s 15 percent above Medica’s closing price on Nov. 15. Korian declined 2.8 percent to 24.61 euros.
PSA Peugeot Citroen rallied 6.3 percent to 10.89 euros, leading Stoxx 600 carmakers to the biggest gain among 19 industry groups. Fiat SpA climbed 3.4 percent to 5.96 euros and Daimler AG rose 1.9 percent to 59.76 euros.
RWE AG jumped 5.9 percent to 27.78 euros after Exane BNP Paribas raised Germany’s second-biggest utility to outperform from neutral, meaning investors should buy the stock, saying power prices in Germany have troughed and the group should benefit from a favorable outcome to German nuclear litigation.
EON SE climbed 4.1 percent to 14.05 euros.
Petrofac sank 17 percent to 1,200 pence, the biggest drop in the Stoxx 600, after the company predicted its profit growth will be “flat to modest” in 2014.
Shares of Neste Oil Oyj declined 8.9 percent to 14.28 euros after Citigroup Inc. cut Finland’s only oil refiner to sell from neutral, citing a deterioration in key profitability drivers for both renewable and refining divisions.
Aveva Group Plc fell 7.8 percent to 2,365 pence. The provider of information-technology systems said first-half revenue amounted to 108.5 million pounds, falling short of the 109.8 million pounds analysts had projected.