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European stocks advanced for the fourth time in five days as business activity in the U.S. expanded more than forecast. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said its business barometer decreased to 62.5 this month from 62.6 in November. Readings above 50 signal growth. Economists forecast the gauge would fall to 61, according to the median of 49 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. A U.S. Labor Department report showed that first applications for unemployment benefits increased 381,000 last week, after falling to the lowest since April 2008 in the previous period. In Europe, Italy missed its fundraising target at the auction of debt maturing between 2014 and 2022, while its borrowing costs eased. The Treasury in Rome sold 6 percent bonds due in 2014 to yield 5.62 percent, down from 7.89 percent at the previous sale on Nov. 29 and priced its 5 percent 2022 bond to yield 6.98 percent, compared with 7.56 percent on Nov. 29. The Treasury also sold bonds due in 2021 and a floating-rate security due 2018. Italy’s bond sale followed yesterday’s auction of bills, where yields fell.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 16 of the 18 Western European (SXXP) markets today. Germany’s DAX rose 1.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 added 1.8 percent. The Swiss Market Index was little changed.
Bayer AG, Germany’s largest drugmaker, increased 2.9 percent to 48.73 euros after filing a supplemental new drug application together with Johnson & Johnson for the Xarelto blood thinner drug to treat Acute Coronary Syndrome.
Yara International ASA, the biggest publicly traded nitrogen-fertilizer maker, rose 1.9 percent to 236.30 kroner and Syngenta AG, the world’s largest producer of crop-protection chemicals, gained 1.1 percent to 274.30 francs.
Fiat retreated 0.9 percent to 3.49 euros after Monica Bosio, a Banca IMI analyst, cut the stock to “hold” from “add.”
Mining shares dropped as copper declined for a second day on the London Metal Exchange. Petropavlovsk Plc slid 3.2 percent to 598 pence.
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