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01.05.2012 18:15

European stocks close:

 

All western European markets, except the U.K., Ireland and Denmark, were closed for the May Day holiday. U.K. stocks jumped the most in two weeks after Lloyds Banking Group Plc reported profit that topped analyst estimates and U.S. manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace in 10 months.

Stocks extended gains today after U.S. data showed manufacturing in the world’s largest economy expanded in April, driven by gains in orders and production. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 54.8, exceeding the most optimistic forecast, from 53.4 in March. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.

In contrast, U.K. manufacturing grew at a slower rate than economists forecast in April as new export orders declined at the fastest pace since May 2009.

Lloyds jumped 8.3 percent to 33.60 pence after pretax profit, excluding one-time items and asset sales, more than doubled to 628 million pounds ($1 billion). The median analyst estimate was for a profit of 422 million pounds. Total impairments fell by 36 percent, helped by the lender’s Irish and Australian units.

Imperial Tobacco increased 3.7 percent to 2,556 pence after Europe’s second-biggest tobacco company reported a 3 percent increase in adjusted operating profit to 1.52 billion pounds in the six months ended March 31, helped by higher prices for cigarettes in the U.K.

BP retreated 0.8 percent to 441.3 pence. Europe’s second- largest oil company reported a 19 percent decline in first- quarter net income to $5.9 billion, as asset sales lowered production and refining weakened.

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