European Stocks Extend Five-Week High as Vodafone Gains

European stocks rose, extending their highest level in more than five weeks, as companies from Vodafone Group Plc to Henkel AG rallied on better-than-estimated financial results and improving forecasts.

Vodafone advanced the most in 14 months after saying services revenue fell slower than analysts’ estimated. That pushed a gauge of telecommunications companies to the highest level since March 2008. Henkel gained 4.6 percent after also raising its full-year margin projection.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.4 percent to 338.93 at the close of trading, after briefly paring gains as the U.S. equity markets opened. The measure has rebounded 9.3 percent from this year’s low on Oct. 16 as the Bank of Japan unexpectedly boosted its stimulus and most lenders in Europe passed tests of their capital strength.

“Company earnings are running reasonably well and markets have seen them, at least on the margin, as reassuring” Raimund Saxinger, who helps oversee $22 billion as a fund manager at Frankfurt-Trust Investment GmbH, said in a phone interview. “There is some underlying strength in the global economy and we are not on the brink of recession or deflation.”

Earnings have driven investor sentiment yesterday and today in the absence of major economic reports. Analysts expect earnings of the gauge’s companies to grow 7.5 percent this year, up from their October projection of 7.2 percent.

Slower Decline

Vodafone rose 5.4 percent to 219.05 pence as services revenue excluding acquisitions fell 1.5 percent in its second accounting quarter. Analysts had expected a 2.6 percent drop.

Henkel gained 4.6 percent to 83.20 euros. The maker of Dial soap and Persil detergent said adjusted earnings before interest and taxes will approach 16 percent of sales this year, compared with an earlier goal of about 15.5 percent. The profit measure rose 3.1 percent in the third quarter, beating projections.

Royal Vopak NV advanced 1.9 percent to 41.45 euros. The chemical and oil-storage company said third-quarter earnings before interest and taxes, excluding some items, increased to 142 million euros ($177 million).

Commodity producers and energy companies posted the biggest losses in the Stoxx 600. Iron-ore prices will plunge below $60 a metric ton next year, Citigroup Inc. said in a report. Oil futures fell for a second day amid concern that global demand isn’t keeping pace with supply.

BHP Billiton Plc and Rio Tinto Plc, the world’s largest mining companies, declined at least 1 percent each.

Fugro NV dropped 9.5 percent after rallying 132 percent in the past four days. Boskalis Westminster NV, which bought a 14.8 percent stake in the Dutch deepwater-oilfield surveyor, said it doesn’t plan to bid for the company.

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