Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

European Stocks Extend Rally Toward Best Monthly Gain Since 2015

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European stocks rose, extending a rally that’s put them on track for their best month since October 2015.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.1 percent to 360.48. Trading volumes have declined since mid-December as holidays approached, and that can exaggerate price swings. The U.K. market was closed for a second day. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index is within 1.5 percent of wiping out its losses for the year, having rallied 5.4 percent this month.

Italian lender Banco Popolare SC declined 3.7 percent after a national peer, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, said the European Central Bank sees it needing about 8.8 billion euros ($9.2 billion) of capital to bolster its balance sheet.

  • Galenica AG climbed 1.8 percent after after Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported that the company plans to change its name to Vifor Pharma in the first quarter and carry out an initial public offering of its pharmacy business under the name of Galenica Sante a few weeks later.

    Strategists expect the Stoxx 600 to end 2017 at 366, 1.5 percent higher than Tuesday’s close, according to the average of nine estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Even so, European stocks have been hovering around an overbought level for the past 13 sessions, the longest streak since March 2015.
  • While analysts forecast annual profit for companies in the benchmark to decline 2.1 percent this year, they expect growth of 13 percent in 2017.
  • The VStoxx Index, a gauge of volatility in the euro zone based on Euro Stoxx 50 Index options, jumped 11 percent, set for its biggest daily increase since Oct. 31.

— With assistance by Elena Popina

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