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European stocks gained as China reported the slowest expansion in three years, fueling speculation policy makers will add to stimulus measures. China’s growth slowed for a sixth quarter to the weakest pace since the global financial crisis, putting pressure on Premier Wen Jiabao to boost stimulus to secure a second-half economic rebound.
Gross domestic product expanded 7.6 percent last quarter from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. The pace, a three-year low, compares with an 8.1 percent gain in the previous period and the 7.7 percent median forecast of economists. Industrial production increased at a slower pace in June while retail sales growth decelerated.
Italy today auctions as much as 5.25 billion euros ($6.4 billion) of a new three-year bond and three longer-dated securities. Moody’s Investors Service cut the country’s bond rating and reiterated its negative outlook, as the euro area’s third-biggest economy faces higher funding costs, slower growth, and contagion risk from Greece and Spain.
The ratings company lowered Italy’s rating by two steps to Baa2 from A3 and said further downgrading is possible, according to a statement released in Frankfurt today. That makes Italy’s grade the same as those of Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Brazil.
Storebrand, Norway’s second-largest publicly traded insurer, rallied 8 percent to 24 kroner. The company said it will cut costs by at least 400 million kroner ($66 million) by 2014 and meet stricter European capital requirements without selling new shares.
FTSE 100 5,642.71 +34.46 +0.61%
CAC 40 3,149.48 +14.30 +0.46%
DAX 6,468.31 +48.96 +0.76%
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