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European stocks advanced to their highest level since March as U.K. retail sales beat forecasts and U.S. building permits jumped to their highest in four years.
Novozymes A/S (NZYMB), the world’s biggest maker of industrial enzymes, gained 4.8 percent after reporting second-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ projections. Mediaset SpA (MS) surged 11 percent amid reports Middle East investors are buying shares in the Italian broadcaster. Telekom Austria AG (TKA) slid 5.6 percent after cutting its profit and sales forecast for 2012.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) rose 0.3 percent to 271.09 at 4:30 p.m. in London, its highest level since March 19.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 15 of the 18 western European markets.
FTSE 100 5,834.51 +1.47 +0.03% CAC 40 3,480.49 +31.29 +0.91% DAX 6,996.29 +49.49 +0.71%
Novozymes climbed 4.8 percent to 158 kroner after posting second-quarter net income of 495 million kroner ($82 million), exceeding analyst estimates of 483 million kroner.
Tesco Plc advanced 1.7 percent to 338.3 pence after British retail sales beat forecasts. Marks & Spencer Group Plc added 1.6 percent to 360 pence and Home Retail Group Plc gained 4.1 percent to 93 pence.
African Barrick Gold Plc (ABG) surged 8 percent to 425 pence after Toronto-based parent Barrick Gold Corp. said it has held talks to sell its stake in the company to China National Gold Group Corp.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc (HIK) jumped 3.4 percent to 749.5 pence after reiterating its projection for 20 percent sales growth in 2012. First-half revenue rose 35 percent to $532.3 million from a year earlier, the company said.
Mediaset SpA surged 11 percent to 1.57 euros on speculation investors from the Middle East are buying the Italian broadcaster’s shares and may seek to become the company’s second-biggest shareholder.
Bankia jumped 17 percent to 1.40 euros. Banco Popular Espanol SA (POP) surged 15 percent to 1.72 euros.
Telekom Austria declined 5.6 percent to 6.94 euros as a gauge of telecommunications companies dropped. The mobile-phone operator predicted full-year revenue of 4.2 billion euros ($5.2 billion), compared with a forecast of 4.4 billion euros in June.
Vodafone Plc, the world’s second-largest mobile-phone company, lost 1.7 percent to 185.6 pence.
William Demant plunged 7.5 percent to 515 kroner after reporting first-half Ebit of 864 million kroner. That missed the median analyst estimate of 935 million kroner.
Lonmin Plc (LMI) plunged 6.8 percent to 648 pence, dropping for a fourth day. The third-biggest platinum producer said Chief Executive Officer Ian Farmer had been hospitalized with a serious illness and the company may miss output targets as a strike cut production.
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