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European (SXXP) stocks advanced the most in two weeks amid better-than-forecast U.S. economic reports and a rebound in Chinese manufacturing.
Etablissements Maurel & Prom led the rally, surging 8.3 percent after three people familiar with the matter said China Petrochemical Corp. is considering a takeover offer for the French oil explorer. British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc climbed 7.1 percent after first-quarter operating profit beat analyst estimates. Croda International Plc (CRDA), the world’s second-largest maker of cosmetic ingredients, dropped 1.3 percent.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 1.3 percent to 273.7 at the close in London, its biggest gain since Oct. 16.
Consumer confidence in the U.S. climbed in October to the highest in more than four years. The Conference Board’s index increased to 72.2, the highest since February 2008, from a revised 68.4 in September. The figure was projected to rise to 73, according to the median estimate of economists.
Another report showed manufacturing in the world’s largest economy expanded at a faster pace than forecast. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 51.7 last month from 51.5 in September. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
National benchmark indexes rose in 13 of the 16 western European markets that were open today.
Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) jumped 8.3 percent to 43.94 pence, the highest price since July, 2011. Britain’s biggest mortgage lender said the amount it pays out each month to settle payment protection insurance claims fell to 250 million pounds in the third quarter from 300 million pounds in the second half.
Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, gained 4.9 percent to 63.35 Swiss francs after Bank of America Corp. raised the stock to buy from underperform.
Swatch Group AG (UHR), the world’s largest watchmaker, increased 4.8 percent to 403.90 francs. Christian Dior SA (CDI) rose 3.3 percent to 114.45 euros, while LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) advanced 2.6 percent to 128.60 euros.
Croda declined 1.3 percent to 2,172 pence. The company posted a third-quarter continuing operating profit of 59.70 million pounds, missing the analyst estimate of 63.96 million.
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