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05.02.2014 18:22

European stocks close

European stocks advanced for the first time in four days as investors weighed data that showed U.S. services-industries growth accelerated while employers in the world’s largest economy hired fewer workers than estimated.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.1 percent to 318.04 at the close. The gauge declined 5.5 percent from a Jan. 22 high through yesterday as the Federal Reserve announced the second installment of a reduction in monthly bond purchases and emerging-market currencies tumbled.

The service industry in the U.S. grew at a faster pace last month, after expanding in December at the slowest rate since July 2012, the Institute for Supply Management said today. The group’s non-manufacturing index increased to 54 in January from 53 in December. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a reading of 53.7.

Companies in the U.S. increased payrolls by 175,000 in January, figures from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey, showed. That missed the median projection of 40 economists surveyed by Bloomberg that called for an advance of 185,000. Estimates ranged from gains of 125,000 to 241,000.

National benchmark indexes rose in 14 of the 18 western European markets today. France’s CAC 40 added less than 0.1 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.1 percent. Germany’s DAX slid 0.1 percent.

GlaxoSmithKline added 1.6 percent to 1,579.5 pence after saying revenue will rise 2 percent and earnings per share excluding currency swings and some items will increase by 4 percent to 8 percent in 2014.

Swatch increased 3.9 percent to 553.50 Swiss francs after saying 2013 operating income rose 17 percent to 2.31 billion francs ($2.55 billion). That exceeded the 2.07 billion-franc average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The biggest maker of Swiss watches said it got more than 400 million francs in compensation from Tiffany & Co. over a failed alliance.

Handelsbanken advanced 3 percent to 318.40 kronor, its biggest increase since Oct. 22. The Swedish lender proposed a total dividend of 16.50 kronor per share, comprising a special dividend of 5 kronor and a regular dividend of 11.50 kronor. That compares with a payout of 10.75 kronor per share a year earlier and a Bloomberg dividend projection of 11.50 kronor.

Alfa Laval AB gained 4.6 percent to 162.80 kronor, its biggest advance in one year. The largest maker of heat exchangers posted fourth-quarter order intake of 8.17 billion kronor ($1.25 billion), compared with 7.45 billion kronor in the third quarter. Commerzbank AG said in a note the order intake beat analysts’ estimates for the first time since the second quarter of 2012.

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