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European stocks rose to the highest level in more than 23 months as companies reported earnings and a report showed house prices in 20 U.S. cities increased.
Royal Philips Electronics NV climbed 2.3 percent after the world’s largest lighting manufacturer reported fourth-quarter results that topped analyst estimates. William Hill Plc (WMH) gained 2.1 percent after the bookmaker reporter a jump sales.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 percent to 290.3 at the close in London, the highest level since Feb. 18, 2011.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 12 of the 18 western European (SXXP) markets.
FTSE 100 6,339.19 +44.78 +0.71% CAC 40 3,785.82 +4.93 +0.13% DAX 7,848.57 +15.57 +0.20%
Philips gained 2.3 percent to 22.43 euros after the world’s largest lighting manufacturer reported a 50 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and one-time items to 875 million euros. The estimate survey was for 866 million euros. Sales gained 6.7 percent.
William Hill added 2.1 percent to 374 pence after the U.K. bookmaker said full-year net revenue grew by 12 percent after experiencing a strong fourth quarter. The company, which will release final results on March 1, expects operating profit of 330 million pounds ($518 million).
3i Group Plc (III), Britain’s oldest private-equity firm, rose 3.1 percent to 266.8 pence after saying that activist investor Edward Bramson has been buying its shares.
Software AG tumbled 17 percent to 28.90 after the German infrastructure-software provider reported fourth-quarter profit of 50.7 million euros ($68 million), missing analysts’ estimates of 52.9 million euros. Revenue in the fourth quarter came in at 276 million euros compared with estimates of 289.4 million euros.
Saipem SpA (SPM) fell 3.5 percent to 30.45 euros after Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit placed 9.97 million shares in Europe’s largest oil contractor by market value on behalf of an institutional client, according to the terms obtained by Bloomberg News. The shares were sold at 30.65 euros apiece.
BT Group Plc (BT/A) fell 2.3 percent to 246.2 pence after Bank of America downgraded the U.K.’s biggest fixed-line phone company to neutral from buy saying rising costs from plans to increase sales are endangering earnings growth.
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