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25.03.2014 18:00

European stock close

European stocks rose the most in three weeks as better-than-forecast U.S. consumer-confidence and housing data signaled the world’s largest economy has rebounded from the harsh winter.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 1.2 percent to 328.33 at 4:30 p.m. in London after yesterday falling the most in two weeks.

In the U.S., the Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index rose to 82.3 this month, exceeding the median estimate of 78.5 in a survey of economists. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S. A separate release showed new house sales in America declined at a slower-than-expected rate last month after climbing in January to the highest level in a year.

German business confidence slipped this month, data showed. The Ifo institute’s business-climate index, based on a survey of executives, fell to 110.7 from 111.3 in February. That missed the 110.9 median economist estimate.

National benchmark indexes rose in every western-European market that opened today, except Iceland.

FTSE 100 6,604.89 +84.50 +1.30% CAC 40 4,344.12 +67.78 +1.59% DAX 9,338.4 +149.63 +1.63%  

EasyJet climbed 3.4 percent to 1,687 pence. The low-cost airline forecast a pretax loss for the first half of its financial year of 55 million pounds ($91 million) to 65 million pounds, narrower than its Jan. 23 prediction for a loss of as much as 90 million pounds.

Luxottica increased 4 percent to 40.50 euros. The world’s largest maker of glasses will design, develop and sell spectacles that use Google Glass technology, according to a joint statement late yesterday. Google Glass combines a small screen, camera and audio on a device worn at eye level. Luxottica owns the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands.

Baloise climbed 2.9 percent to 112.30 Swiss francs after saying it plans to increase its payout to 4.75 francs ($5.36), more than the dividend forecast of 4.50 francs. The 151-year-old insurer also reported profit that climbed 3.7 percent to 453 million francs last year, missing the 467.8 million-franc average analyst projection.

A gauge of European mining stocks rallied 2.6 percent. Anglo American Plc increased 4 percent to 1,498 pence as workers at its largest copper mine in Chile returned to work following violent protests yesterday. The company said that normal activity will resume at Los Bronces today as it evaluates the damage to the facility.

Kingfisher Plc (KGF) gained 6 percent to 430.8 pence after saying adjusted pretax profit advanced 4.1 percent to 744 million pounds, more than the 730.2 million-pound average analyst projection. The British home-improvement chain also said it would return about 200 million pounds to shareholders during its 2015 financial year.

Leoni AG slid 3.4 percent to 49.36 euros after forecasting earnings before interest and taxes of at least 200 million euros this year. Analysts had predicted Ebit of 226 million euros.

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