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European stocks advanced as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s decision on reducing its monthly bond purchases. U.S. index futures were little changed, while Asian shares rose.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.3 percent to 312.86 at 9:38 a.m. in London, after yesterday falling from its highest level since June 2008. The gauge has rallied 12 percent so far in 2013 as central banks pressed on with their supportive policies.
The Federal Open Market Committee wraps up a two-day policy meeting today, at which it will probably decide to lower its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases. Among 64 economists, 33 predict the Fed will reduce its buying of Treasuries by $5 billion or less, with 31 forecasting a cut of $10 billion or more.
Earlier this month, the median estimate of 34 economists called for a $10 billion reduction. In a July poll, half of the 54 responses predicted a $20-billion cut.
The FOMC releases both its policy statement and forecasts for economic growth, inflation and unemployment at 2 p.m. New York time. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will hold a press conference half an hour later.
The Bank of England today released the minutes from its Sept 4-5 meeting, which showed that officials had voted unanimously to maintain policy as an improving economic outlook prompted agreement that no more stimulus was needed.
Peugeot, Europe’s second-largest carmaker, climbed 0.6 percent to 12.39 euros. The company may sell a stake to Dongfeng Motor Corp. to raise cash for expansion outside Europe, two people familiar with the matter said. Talks are at an early stage, they said.
HeidelbergCement gained 2 percent to 58.57 euros as Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the cement maker to buy from sell, saying increased spending will drive growth opportunities. The stock is trading at 16.7 times projected earnings, compared with 16.5 times for the Stoxx 600 Construction and Materials Index.
Smiths Group Plc (SMIN) advanced 4 percent to 1,431 pence, its highest price since May. The U.K. producer of security scanners announced an additional dividend of 30 pence per share, as well as increasing its final dividend to 27 pence a share.
Lanxess AG slipped 2.4 percent to 50.18 euros. The synthetic-rubber maker said it will cut 1,000 jobs and curb management bonuses as part of a plan to save about 100 million euros annually from 2015.
Citigroup Inc. said the proposal will put additional pressure on the company’s cash flow in the short term. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said investors may sell the stock in the absence of a more significant plan. Baader
FTSE 100 6,584.32 +14.15 +0.22%
CAC 40 4,162.58 +17.07 +0.41%
DAX 8,633.92 +36.97 +0.43%
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