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European stocks advanced as investors weighed corporate earnings from Electricite de France SA to Barclays Plc and the Federal Reserve began a two-day policy meeting.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.2 percent to 299.55 at 4:35 p.m. in London. The gauge has rallied 5.1 percent in July, heading for the biggest gain since October 2011, as the Fed said it remains flexible on the pace of asset purchases. The U.S. central bank starts a two-day meeting today and the European Central Bank and the Bank of England announce policy decisions on Thursday.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 15 of the 18 western European markets today.
FTSE 100 6,570.95 +10.70 +0.16% CAC 40 3,986.61 +17.70 +0.45% DAX 8,271.02 +11.99 +0.15%
In the U.S., house prices increased by the most in more than seven years in May. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values climbed 12.2 percent from a year earlier after advancing 12.1 percent in April.
EDF soared 6.8 percent to 21.61 euros, the highest price since November 2011, as the company reported a 3.5 percent increase in first-half profit on cold weather. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 9.7 billion euros (12.9 billion) beat the 9.24 billion-euro median estimate of five analysts surveyed.
Alcatel-Lucent rallied 14 percent to 1.83 euros, the highest since March 2012, after reporting second-quarter sales and earnings that surpassed analysts’ estimates and saying Qualcomm Inc. agreed to buy a minority stake.
International Personal Finance Plc (IPF) jumped 15 percent to 652.50, the highest price since the company started trading on the London Stock Exchange in July 2007 after being split off from Provident Financial Plc. The home-credit business, which offers unsecured loans to low-income households in eastern Europe and Mexico, posted first-half pretax profit that beat estimates and announced a share buyback program.
Wacker Chemie AG jumped 9.6 percent to 76.08 euros, the highest price since February 2012. Europe’s largest polysilicon maker posted second-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 188.2 million euros, surpassing the 171.4 million-euro average estimate.
ITV Plc surged 6.7 percent to 167.6 pence, the highest price since the owner of the U.K.’s biggest commercial TV station started trading in February 2004, after reporting first-half sales of 1.31 billion pounds ($2 billion). That beat the 1.15 billion-pound average analyst forecast.
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