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02.09.2013 16:12

European stocks close

European stocks advanced the most in eight weeks as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing activity exceeded economists’ estimates. U.S. index futures also rose.

In China, a measure of manufacturing from the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing rose to 51 in August from 50.3 in July. That beat the median economist estimate for a reading of 50.6 in a Bloomberg survey. A figure greater than 50 means that activity expanded.

Markit Economics and HSBC Holdings Plc’s purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing in the world’s second-largest economy climbed to 50.1 last month from 47.7 in July.

In Europe, the final reading of a euro-area manufacturing index increased to 51.4 in August, more than the 51.3 median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. A measure of U.K. factory output rose to 57.2 last month from 54.8 in July. That also exceeded the median economist estimate.

National benchmark indexes climbed in every western-European market except Greece. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 1.4 percent, while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 1.6 percent.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto advanced 2.4 percent to 1,922.5 pence and 4.3 percent to 3,037.5 pence, respectively. A gauge of mining-company shares posted the best performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600. Anglo American Plc, which owns Amplats, the world’s largest platinum producer, gained 3.9 percent to 1,536.5 pence.

A purchasing managers’ index for Spain climbed to 51.1 from 49.8 in July, meaning that the country’s manufacturing industry expanded for the first time in 28 months.

Spain’s IBEX 35 Index jumped 1.5 percent. Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA contributed the most to the gauge’s advance, rising 1.7 percent to 5.43 euros and 2.2 percent to 7.38 euros, respectively.

Vodafone gained 3.3 percent to 213.1 pence. The board of Verizon Communications will vote on the terms of the deal today, said the person who asked not to be identified because the details remain private. Europe’s largest mobile-phone operator confirmed yesterday that it has held advanced discussions with Verizon about selling its 45 percent stake in their joint venture for $130 billion.

Telecom Italia SpA, Italy’s biggest telephone company, added 3.9 percent to 55 euro cents. A gauge of telecommunications operators climbed 2.7 percent. BT Group Plc, the biggest fixed-line phone company in the U.K., increased 4 percent to 338.2 pence.

Teleperformance SA climbed 2.9 percent to 35.10 euros. Societe Generale SA raised its recommendation on the French operator of call centers to buy from hold. The brokerage said the shares’ recent decline provides a buying opportunity. The stock has fallen 14 percent since its high on July 18.

Helvetia Holding AG added 3.3 percent to 412 Swiss francs. Switzerland’s fourth-biggest insurer said first-half profit rose because of increased life-insurance sales and an acquisition in France. Net income climbed to 179.5 million Swiss francs ($192 million) in the six months through June, beating the average analyst estimate of 164.4

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