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European stocks climbed the most in almost three weeks, erasing earlier losses, as reports showed manufacturing expanded more than forecast in the U.S. and China.
Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded more than forecast in March. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 53.4 from 52.4 in February, data showed. Economists had estimated an increase to 53. Readings above 50 signal growth.
China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index compiled by the logistics federation and the National Bureau of Statistics rose to 53.1 in March from 51 in February.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 12 out of 18 western-European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index climbed 1.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 1.9 percent while Germany’s DAX Index rallied 1.6 percent.
Oriflame paced advancing shares, gaining 2.6 percent to 261.50 kronor after Coty offered to buy Avon, a door-to-door cosmetics seller, for $23.25 a share in cash. Oriflame sells cosmetics at parties hosted in private homes.
Novo Nordisk jumped 5.6 percent to 815.50 kroner. The world’s biggest insulin maker said it will meet its 2014 target date to begin selling an obesity drug, Victoza, Copenhagen-based newspaper Borsen reported, citing an interview with Chief Science Officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen.
Stada Arzneimittel AG gained 4.7 percent to 25.78 euros, Merck KGaA climbed 4.3 percent to 86.55 euros and UCB SA advanced 4.6 percent to 33.83 euros.
A gauge of mining stocks was the second best-performer on the Stoxx 600 Index, led by U.K.-listed companies. Fresnillo Plc added 4.1 percent to 66 pence, Rio Tinto Group gained 3.2 percent to 110 pence and BHP Billiton Ltd. climbed 3 percent to 57.5 pence.
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