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25.04.2012 18:50

European stocks close:

 

European stocks advanced for a second day as companies from Apple Inc. to Swedbank AB and Electrolux AB reported earnings that beat estimates.

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve will conclude a two-day meeting today where it will probably leave the benchmark interest rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent, according to the median forecast of economists.

The U.K. economy unexpectedly shrank in the first quarter as construction output slumped, pushing Britain into its first double-dip recession since the 1970s. Gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, when it shrank 0.3 percent, the Office for National Statistics said today in London.

National benchmark indexes rose in all of the 19 western European markets except Iceland. France’s CAC 40 rallied 2 percent, while Germany’s DAX advanced 1.7 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent.

Swedbank, the largest lender in the Baltic states, jumped 3.5 percent to 107.70 kronor after profit in the first quarter beat estimates as it made more money from its lending business.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA rose 2.2 percent to 5.26 euros after the Spanish lender reporter first-quarter profit of 1 billion euros, topping the average analyst estimate that called for 936.7 million euros.

BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA, France’s biggest banks, rose 5.6 percent to 30.88 euros, and 6.3 percent to 18.26 euros, respectively.

Electrolux gained 6.5 percent to 147.20 kronor after reporting first-quarter profit of 561 million kronor ($83.3 million), compared with the 483 million-kronor average estimate of economists.

Temenos jumped 19 percent to 16.85 Swiss francs after the banking-software maker confirmed its full-year outlook and reported first-quarter sales of $100.3 million, beating the average $97.5 million estimate.

Technology shares were among the best performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 after Apple posted a 94 percent increase in first-quarter profit. Cap Gemini SA and Alcatel-Lucent increased 3.5 percent to 29.68 euros, and 5.2 percent to 1.47 euros, respectively.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the U.K.’s largest drugmaker, sank 3 percent to 1,413.5 pence after reporting first-quarter profit and sales that missed analyst estimates as revenue declined in Europe.

Market Focus

  • The Bank of Japan decided by a 7-2 majority vote to hold the interest rate at -0.10%
  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 4.7 million barrels from the previous week
  • Australian unemployment rate stable at 5.6% in June
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