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European stocks advanced as investors awaited the European Central Bank’s interest-rate decision. U.S. stock futures were little changed, while Asian shares fell.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.3 percent to 330.72 at 9:21 a.m. in London. The benchmark gauge rose 0.9 percent in the past two sessions to the highest level since May 2008. The Stoxx 600 rallied 17 percent last year as central banks around the world kept interest rates low.
ECB President Mario Draghi today convenes the first rate-setting meeting of 2014 in Frankfurt. The central bank will maintain its key interest rate at a record low of 0.25 percent, according to the median forecast of economists.
The Bank of England announces its interest-rate decision at noon in London. Policy makers will hold the key rate at 0.5 percent and maintain the asset-purchase target at 375 billion pounds ($617 billion), economists predicted.
In the U.S., minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting showed officials saw declining economic gains from its monthly bond-buying program. The Fed decided at the meeting to start reducing the size of its asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion starting this month.
Participants were also concerned “about the ">TGS soared 13 percent to 166.40 kroner after Norway’s biggest surveyor of underwater oil and gas fields forecast 2013 revenue of about $882 million, compared with a previous guidance in the range of $810 million to $870 million.
AstraZeneca Plc added 1.6 percent to 3,607 pence. The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement yesterday it approved dapagliflozin, a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. The pill by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is the second in a new class of medicines for the disease, with Johnson & Johnson gaining clearance for its treatment in March.
Tesco declined 2.5 percent to 320.2 pence after saying comparable sales, excluding fuel and value added taxes, fell 2.4 percent in the six weeks to Jan. 4. That missed analysts’ predictions of a 2.2 percent drop. A gauge of retail stocks posted the second-worst decline of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600.
Arkema fell 3.2 percent to 79.46 euros after lowering its forecast for 2013 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to around 900 million euros ($1.22 billion) from a previous estimate of 920 million euros.
FTSE 100 6,739.63 +17.85 +0.27%
CAC 40 4,269.32 +8.36 +0.20%
DAX 9,530.57 +32.73 +0.34%
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