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European (SXXP) stocks climbed, with the benchmark index rising for a ninth straight month, as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled they would maintain monetary support.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1 percent to 289.94 at the close of trading, extending its advance this month to 1 percent, for its longest monthly winning streak since 1997.
A Labor Department report showed that fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week. Initial jobless claims fell by 22,000 to 344,000 in the week ended Feb. 23, compared with the median forecast of economists that called for 361,000.
The U.S. economy managed to barely expand in the fourth quarter. Gross domestic product grew at a 0.1 percent annual rate, up from a previously estimated 0.1 percent drop, revised figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast of economists called for a 0.5 percent gain.
National benchmark indexes rose in all of the 18 western- European markets except Portugal today.
FTSE 100 6,360.81 +34.93 +0.55% CAC 40 3,723 +31.51 +0.85% DAX 7,741.7 +65.87 +0.86%
Bayer increased 2.7 percent to 75.86 euros after saying sales will rise to about 41 billion euros ($53.9 billion) this year. Fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and special items increased 18 percent to 1.83 billion euros from 1.54 billion euros a year earlier, in line with analysts’ estimates.
Telefonica (TEF) added 20 cents to 10 euros after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as sales growth in Latin America helped to offset revenue declines in its domestic market. Operating income before depreciation and amortization fell 8.6 percent to 5.45 billion euros, compared with projections for 5.44 billion euros.
HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) gained 0.9 percent to 731.4 pence. Europe’s largest bank by market value may say pretax profit in 2012 rose 7.4 percent to $23.5 billion when it reports earnings on March 4.
Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) may say pretax profit last year climbed to $7.12 billion from $6.78 billion, according to the median estimate of analysts. The stock increased 1.2 percent to 1,796 pence.
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) rallied 7.9 percent to 239.2 pence, its highest price since July 26, 2011. Europe’s third-largest carrier had a full-year operating loss of 23 million euros, excluding one-time items, compared with a 485 million-euro profit a year earlier. Analysts had expected an 88 million-euro loss.
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