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17.04.2014 17:21

European stocks close

European stocks climbed for a second day as a report showed fewer Americans claimed unemployment benefits last week than estimated.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.5 percent to 332.43 at the close of trading as diplomats from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union held talks on the unrest in eastern Ukraine. The equity benchmark has climbed 1.1 percent this week. It has still fallen 2 percent from this year’s high on April 4 amid a confrontation between Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists in the country’s eastern region.

National benchmarks gained in 12 of the 15 European markets that opened today. France’s CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent. Germany’s DAX climbed 1 percent. Sweden’s OMX Stockholm 30 retreated 0.1 percent after closing early. Norway, Denmark and Iceland were all shut for Maundy Thursday.

A Labor Department report showed U.S. jobless claims rose to 304,000 in the week ended April 12, fewer than the median economist forecast of 315,000.

Renault climbed 1.9 percent to 73.37 euros as a report by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association showed the carmaker’s sales rallied 29 percent in March. Daimler AG, which increased sales by 5.4 percent, added 3 percent to 67.29 euros. Registrations in Europe gained 10 percent to 1.49 million vehicles, ACEA said. A gauge of auto-related companies rose 2.1 percent, the best performance on the Stoxx 600.

Remy Cointreau dropped 3.3 percent to 60.87 euros after saying that adjusted operating profit probably declined by 35 percent to 40 percent in the financial year through March. It had predicted a drop of at least 10 percent. The maker of Remy Martin cognac also said annual organic sales fell 11 percent, wider than the 9.7 percent drop predicted by analysts. Remy posts its full-years results on June 5.

Diageo slipped 3.7 percent to 1,829 pence after the world’s biggest distiller said sales, excluding acquisitions and currency swings, fell 1.3 percent in the third quarter of its financial year. The median projection of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had called for an increase of 1.8 percent.

SAP declined 1.2 percent to 57.73 euros after the world’s largest maker of business software reported first-quarter operating profit, excluding some items, of 919 million euros ($1.3 billion) on sales of 3.7 billion euros. Analysts on average had predicted earnings of 975 million euros and revenue of 3.8 billion euros.

Akzo Nobel slid 5.8 percent to 53.55 euros after posting sales of 3.38 billion euros, trailing the 3.44 billion-euro average analyst estimate. The world’s largest maker of paint also reported first-quarter net income of 129 million euros, exceeding the 116 million-euro average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

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