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19.11.2012 18:20

European stocks close:

European (SXXP) stocks climbed the most in more than two months as U.S. President Barack Obama expressed confidence that he will strike a deal with Congress on a new budget to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) added 3.8 percent after the bank said it has held talks to sell its $9 billion stake in Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. BP Plc (BP/) gained 3.6 percent following a report that the oil company plans a 3.7 billion-pound ($5.9 billion) buyback. ING Groep NV (INGA) advanced 3.7 percent after the European Commission granted it more time to sell its insurance operations in the region.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2.2 percent to 268.58 at the close, rebounding from its lowest level since Aug. 3, as the Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said after the close of European trading last week that he has held constructive budget talks with Obama.

The Stoxx 600 dropped 2.7 percent last week to its lowest level since Aug. 2 as concern mounted that U.S. lawmakers would fail to agree on a new budget. The gauge has lost 2.2 percent since the re-election of Obama on Nov. 6 set up a showdown with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

A U.S. report showed that sales of previously owned houses climbed to 4.79 million in October, near a two-year high.

National benchmark indexes climbed in every western- European market, except Iceland.

FTSE 100 5,737.66 +132.07 +2.36% CAC 40 3,439.58 +98.06 +2.93% DAX 7,123.84 +173.31 +2.49%

SAS AB (SAS) soared 23 percent to 6.90 kronor after SAS Group won the backing of all eight of the unions that represent its employees to cut jobs and shrink the business. Scandinavia’s biggest airline seeks to extend credit lines and cut costs by 6 billion kronor ($891 million).

Barclays Plc (BARC) climbed 6.6 percent to 249.8 pence after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its recommendation for the shares to buy from neutral before the U.K.’s second-largest lender reveals details of its strategic review in February.

Hochtief AG jumped 5.1 percent to 37.82 euros, snapping a seven-day retreat, after the German builder announced the possible withdrawal of its chief executive officer, Frank Stieler, from the executive board.

Ocado Group Plc (OCDO) surged 24 percent to 75 pence after the British online grocer extended a 100 million-pound credit line, the biggest of the company’s debts, by 18 months until July 2015. The retailer also said it will raise 35.8 million pounds through a sale of shares to existing investors at 64 pence apiece, ending doubts over the company’s immediate survival.

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) surged 9 percent to 2.30 euros after the company said it received reports that its new Lumia 920 smartphone had sold out in many shops in Germany. Nokia started selling the device, which uses Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone 8 operating system, earlier this month.

Fugro NV (FUR) sank 14 percent to 42.14 euros, its biggest drop in four years, after the Dutch oil-services company lowered its forecast for full-year profit to 280 million euros ($359 million). It cited low seismic-vessel utilization and a writedown at its subsea business. The shares also fell after the company’s chief executive officer, Arnold Steenbakker, resigned because of a “difference of opinion” over the future direction of the company, according to a statement.

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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