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14.08.2012 17:30

European stocks close:

European stocks gained, rebounding from a two-day decline, as a report showed German growth slowed less than forecast, while minutes revealed that several Bank of Japan policy makers are prepared to stimulate the economy.

Standard Life Plc (SL/) rallied 8.1 percent as first-half profit at Scotland’s biggest insurer rose 15 percent. A.P. Moeller- Maersk A/S advanced 3.2 percent after increasing the full-year forecast for its container-shipping unit. CRH Plc (CRH) plunged 4.8 percent after saying a European sales decline will worsen.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) gained 0.7 percent to 270.54 at the close.

Germany’s economic growth slowed less in the second quarter than economists had forecast as exports and household spending helped to fend off the impact of the sovereign-debt crisis on Europe’s largest economy. Gross domestic product rose 0.3 percent from the first quarter.

National benchmark indexes advanced in 15 of the 18 western-European markets today.

FTSE 100 5,864.78 +32.90 +0.56% CAC 40 3,450.27 +23.86 +0.70% DAX 6,974.39 +64.71 +0.94%

In Tokyo, minutes of the BOJ’s last meeting showed several board members said the central bank should not dismiss any policy options in combating risks to the economy.

A U.S. Commerce Department release showed that retail sales rose in July more than economists had predicted. They climbed 0.8 percent, their first advance in four months, exceeding the 0.3 percent median estimate of economists.

Standard Life surged 8.1 percent to 277.4 pence as operating profit climbed to 302 million pounds ($474 million) from 262 million pounds a year earlier. That beat the 263 million-pound median prediction of analysts.

Maersk advanced 3.2 percent to 41,880 kroner after reporting that its container business, the world’s largest, returned to profit in the second quarter as freight rates jumped. The company predicted a modest full-year profit for the unit. It had projected a “negative to neutral” result.

Aker Solutions ASA (AKSO) climbed 5.7 percent to 101.50 kroner. The Norwegian oil-services company reported second-quarter profit and sales that beat estimates.

Galp Energia SGPS SA (GALP) rose 1.3 percent to 11.72 euros after Portugal’s biggest oil producer said tests confirmed the presence of good quality crude at a well off the coast of Brazil known as Carcara. Galp holds a 14 percent stake in the consortium exploring the Carcara well.

Hochtief AG (HOT) declined 2.3 percent to 40 euros as Germany’s largest builder said that its profit targets for the year have become more challenging. The company set aside money for a delayed concert-hall project. It posted a second-quarter net loss of 15 million euros.

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