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European stocks posted their biggest weekly rally since early February as reports from the U.S. to Germany indicated growth is gaining pace and the Federal Reserve raised its assessment of the world’s biggest economy.
In Germany, the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said on March 13 its index of investor and analyst expectations, which seeks to predict economic developments six months in advance, rose to 22.3 from 5.4 in February. That was the fourth straight increase.
The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits fell by 14,000 to 351,000 in the week ended March 10, U.S. Labor Department figures showed on March 15. That matched a four-year low, first reached a month earlier.
National benchmark indexes rose in all of Europe’s 18 western markets except Portugal. France’s CAC 40 Index jumped 3.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index added 1.3 percent, while Germany’s DAX Index rallied 4 percent.
Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, increased 11 percent. Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest, gained 9.8 percent.
Pirelli surged 15 percent. The company on March 12 posted 2011 profit of 451.6 million euros, exceeding the 314.3 million- euro analyst estimate, and increased its dividend to 27 euro cents.
Aixtron SE, which manufactures equipment for the semiconductor industry, soared 19 percent. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Deutsche Bank AG on March 15. The analysts cited “early indications of a recovery in the LED industry demand.”
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