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European stocks rose as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he would not rule out further bond purchases to boost growth and reduce unemployment, which he called a “grave concern.”
Bernanke’s speech comes two weeks before he leads a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee to decide whether an expansion of the Fed’s record stimulus is needed to spur growth. Two rounds of large-scale asset purchases totaling $2.3 trillion have so far failed to reduce the jobless rate below 8 percent more than three years into the recovery.
Euro-area unemployment reached the highest on record in July, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. The jobless rate in the economy of the 17 nations using the euro was 11.3 percent, the same as in June after that month’s figure was revised higher. That’s the highest since the data series started in 1995.
National benchmark indexes advanced in every western- European market today, except for the U.K. and Iceland. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell 0.1 percent, while France’s CAC 40 Index rose 1 percent. Germany’s DAX Index climbed 1.1 percent.
Hermes increased 2.3 percent to 228.95 euros as it said annual sales growth excluding currency shifts “could be around 12 percent.” The company last month said it targeted annual revenue growth of 10 percent.
A gauge of European lenders was the best performer of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600, with Banca Monte dei Paschi dei Siena SpA surging 6.5 percent to 22.4 euro cents, and Banco Santander SA rising 6 percent to 5.67 euros. Credit Agricole SA increased 7.6 percent to 4.64 euros.
Neste Oil Oyj, Finland’s only oil refiner, rallied 3.9 percent to 9.16 euros after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised the stock to buy from sell.
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