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28.11.2011 19:06

European stocks close:

European stocks surged, rebounding from their biggest selloff in two months, amid speculation euro- area policy makers are intensifying their efforts to contain the sovereign-debt crisis.

Welt am Sonntag reported that the euro area’s two biggest economies plan for member states to commit to greater fiscal discipline without waiting to change European Union treaties. The newspaper did not say where it got the information.

The euro climbed as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged fast-track treaty changes to tighten budget discipline and as speculation mounted that policy makers are planning to provide more aid for Italy.

Schaeuble said in an interview with ARD television in Berlin yesterday that treaty change is necessary to give veto power over member states’ budgets to the European Commission.

Separately, La Stampa reported that the International Monetary Fund is preparing a 600-billion euro ($800 billion) loan for Italy in case the sovereign-debt crisis worsens, without saying where it got the information.

An IMF official today said the Washington-based lender is not in talks with Italy about a loan program.

National benchmark indexes climbed in every western- European market except Iceland. France’s CAC 40 Index gained 5.5 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 2.9 percent and Germany’s DAX Index increased 4.6 percent.

A gauge of bank shares rallied 5.7 percent, its biggest advance in a month, as borrowing costs fell in Spain and Italy before euro-area finance ministers meet in Brussels on Nov. 29 as governments bid to regain the confidence of financial markets.

The European Financial Stability Facility may insure the bonds of debt-stricken countries with guarantees of 20 percent to 30 percent of each issue, depending on financial markets, according to EFSF guidelines that finance ministers will discuss this week.

BNP Paribas SA surged 10 percent to 28.52 euros as the Financial Times reported that France’s biggest bank (BNP) may plan to sell a portfolio of more than 50 private-equity fund interests for $700 million.

Commerzbank AG advanced 4.1 percent to 1.31 euros as Financial Times Deutschland reported that Germany’s second- largest lender is planning to repurchase so-called hybrid bonds and pay holders with new shares at it seeks ways to boost capital and reduce risk.

Dexia and KBC, Belgium’s biggest bank and insurer, soared 15 percent to 42.7 euro cents and 14 percent to 8.93 euros respectively, after Belgium sold 2 billion euros of bonds maturing between 2018 and 2041. The 10-year bond yield dropped after the auction, which followed the country’s first credit downgrade in almost 13 years.

BHP Billiton Ltd. rallied 4.4 percent to 1,836.5 pence and Total SA rose 3.7 percent to 37.01 euros, leading a rally in mining and energy companies, as copper led base metals higher in London and crude oil climbed in New York.

Rio Tinto Group also rose after the world’s second-largest mining company (RIO) said it expects to increase capital spending 17 percent next year. The company also raised its iron-ore target to meet demand from China. The shares rallied 4.4 percent to 3,164 pence.

Elsewhere, Thomas Cook Group Plc soared 21 percent to 21.73 pence after its banks agreed to provide a 200 million-pound ($311 million) loan, giving Europe’s second-largest tour operator time to reorganize its business.

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc increased 3 percent to 698.5 pence after the company signed a contract with Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) to lower the risk on its 3 billion pounds in pension liabilities.

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