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European stocks rose to the highest in more than 22 months as Alcoa Inc. began the U.S. earnings season with sales that beat projections.
Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, unofficially kicked off the earnings season late yesterday as it reported fourth-quarter sales of $5.9 billion, beating the $5.6 billion average analyst estimate. Fourth-quarter profits from S&P 500 companies probably increased 2.9 percent, according to analysts’ estimates compiled.
German industrial production rose 0.2 percent in November, after a revised 2 percent drop a month earlier, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said. That’s the first time output climbed in four months. Economists on average had predicted a 1 percent increase, according to a Bloomberg survey.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 16 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 0.7 percent, while France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.3 percent. Germany’s DAX gained 0.3 percent.
A gauge of telecommunications shares was the best performer among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Mobile-phone operators including Deutsche Telekom AG and France Telecom SA discussed the creation of a pan-European network with Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Telecom Italia soared 8.8 percent to 75.7 euro cents, the biggest rally since May 2010. Deutsche Telekom advanced 3.4 percent to 9.14 euros and France Telecom climbed 4.3 percent to 8.75 euros. Vodafone Group Plc gained 1.9 percent to 165.5 pence.
Delta Lloyd surged 6.6 percent to 13.71 euros, the largest increase since June 29, after Aviva sold its 19.4 percent stake in the Dutch company for 433.8 million euros ($568 million). Aviva, the U.K.’s second-biggest insurer by market value, slipped 2.2 percent to 373.7 pence.
J Sainsbury Plc lost 2.9 percent to 329.2 pence after the U.K.’s third-largest supermarket chain said same-store sales excluding revenue from fuel rose 0.9 percent in the 14 weeks ended Jan. 5, the weakest of 32 consecutive quarters of gains. A gauge of retail shares was the worst-performing industry group in the Stoxx 600, falling 0.7 percent.
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