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European stocks advanced, following their largest three-day slump in seven months, as mining companies climbed and banks rebounded from a three-week low.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.7 percent to 324.19 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The benchmark retreated 4.2 percent from Jan. 22 through yesterday as the Argentinian government’s decision to allow its currency to devalue triggered a rout in emerging-market currencies.
In the U.K., the Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product expanded 0.7 percent in its initial estimate for the final three months of 2013. That completes the first full year since 2007 when the economy expanded in every quarter.
In the U.S., a Commerce Department report showed orders of durable goods unexpectedly dropped 4.3 percent in December after climbing a revised 2.6 percent in November. Analysts had predicted a gain of 1.8 percent. A separate release showed the Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index rose to 80.7 in January, beating the median economist estimate of 78. The index had a revised reading of 77.5 last month.
The Federal Reserve will begin its final two-day monetary-policy meeting under Chairman Ben S. Bernanke today. He leaves his post on Jan. 31. The central bank will probably reduce its monthly bond purchases in $10 billion increments over the next six meetings before announcing an end to the program no later than December.
National equity benchmarks rose in 15 of the 18 western-European markets today.
FTSE 100 6,572.33 +21.67 +0.33% CAC 40 4,185.29 +40.73 +0.98% DAX 9,406.91 +57.69 +0.62%
A gauge of mining companies rebounded from its lowest level in almost two weeks. Nomura Holdings Inc. raised its rating on the industry to neutral from bearish. The brokerage’s Tyler Broda said companies may reduce costs by more than analysts predict. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, which Nomura named as its top picks, rose 1.4 percent to 1,804 pence and 2.3 percent to 3,213.5 pence, respectively.
Santander climbed 1.6 percent to 6.37 euros. The shares lost 5.3 percent in the three days through yesterday as emerging-market currencies from the Argentinian peso to the Brazilian real weakened.
F&C Asset Management jumped 6.1 percent to 123.5 pence, its highest price since 2008. Bank of Montreal will pay 120 pence a share in cash for the money manager, the two companies said in a joint statement. F&C’s shareholders will also receive a dividend of 2 pence a share.
Siemens AG rose 1.6 percent to 98.94 euros as Europe’s largest engineering company said income from continuing operations in the first quarter of its financial year jumped 21 percent to 1.39 billion euros ($1.9 billion). The average estimate of analysts had called for 1.33 billion euros. The profit ">Software AG rallied 7.2 percent to 27.50 euros after the German company forecast that earnings before interest and taxes may increase by as much as 10 percent in 2014 from last year’s 260.7 million euros.
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