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European stocks advanced the most in a month, paring a weekly decline, as trade data from China exceeded estimates and European Union leaders agreed the first- ever cuts to the bloc’s budget.
China’s exports and imports rose more than estimated in a January that had five working days more than last year, a report showed. Exports increased 25 percent from a year earlier, the customs administration said, compared with economists’ projection of 17.5 percent. Imports climbed 28.8 percent, exceeding the 23.5 percent median estimate.
EU leaders agreed to a seven-year budget that cuts spending for the first time, bowing to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s insistence on thrift. The deal was struck after 25 1/2 hours of talks in Brussels, according to a post on Twitter by EU PresidentHerman Van Rompuy today. While he didn’t disclose a figure, the final draft blueprint for 2014-2020 included a spending ceiling of 960 billion euros ($1.3 trillion), down from an original proposal of 1.047 trillion euros and less than the 994 billion euros spent in the current budget cycle.
National benchmark indexes advanced in all of the 18 western European markets except Greece. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.6 percent, France’s CAC 40 rose 1.4 percent and Germany’s DAX added 0.8 percent.
Software AG advanced 76 cents to 29.23 euros. Germany’s second-biggest software maker said late yesterday it will spend as much as 180 million euros buying back shares.
Credit Agricole rallied 6.9 percent to 7.35 euros, the most since Oct. 1. BNP Paribas raised its recommendation on France’s third-largest bank to buy from hold, citing the improved credibility of management and higher solvency than estimated.
BNP Paribas added 2.4 percent to 44.60 euros after Bank of America advised buying the shares, saying the lender’s results should confirm it has enough capital to support growth.
Telecom Italia slipped 1.3 percent to 66 euro cents, its lowest price since August, after reporting 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 11.7 billion euros. Analysts on average had estimated 11.8 billion euros.
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