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European stocks advanced to a 4 1/2-year high as the region’s policy makers begin a two-day summit in Brussels. U.S. index futures rose while Asian shares were little changed.
European leaders start a two-day Brussels summit today, with euro-area finance ministers meeting separately tomorrow to discuss a bailout for Cyprus. Policy makers are loosening austerity measures as the recession and mounting unemployment in southern Europe overtake the debt crisis as the region’s biggest headache.
HeidelbergCement rose 2.4 percent to 55.88 euros after the German cement maker said debt declined more than expected last year as improved earnings covered dividends and repayments. Borrowings declined 700 million euros ($907 million) to 7 billion euros, the company said today. Analysts had predicted 7.4 billion euros, on average.
Boskalis Westminster gained 2.7 percent to 34.25 euros. The company reported 2012 net income of 250 million euros, beating analysts’ estimates of 242 million euros. Revenue rose 11 percent to 3.1 billion euros.
Home Retail Group Plc surged 16 percent to 153.6 pence. The U.K. retailer raised its full-year profit estimate as sales beat expectations at Homebase home-improvement stores and the Argos catalog chain in the last two months of the fiscal year.
FTSE 100 6,495.19 +13.69 +0.21%
CAC 40 3,855.33 +19.29 +0.50%
DAX 8,015.83 +44.92 +0.56%
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