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17.01.2013 18:20

European stocks close

European stocks gained the most in a week as retailers climbed on increased revenue and U.S. housing starts jumped more than forecast to a four-year high.

Carrefour SA, France’s biggest retailer, Delhaize Group SA, the Belgian owner of Food Lion supermarkets, and Associated British Foods Plc (ABF) advanced more than 3 percent. Petropavlovsk Plc surged the most in four months after the gold producer reported better-than-forecast output.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) rose 0.5 percent to 287.35 at the close of trading, the biggest increase since Jan. 9.

National benchmark indexes climbed in all of the 18 western European markets, except Iceland.

FTSE 100 6,132.36 +28.38 +0.46% CAC 40 3,744.11 +35.62 +0.96% DAX 7,735.46 +44.33 +0.58%

Carrefour jumped 6.1 percent to 20.50 euros, the biggest gain since August. The retailer reported a 0.8 percent increase in fourth-quarter sales because of growth in Latin America, and said business continued to improve in France.

Delhaize surged 10 percent to 35.23 euros, the largest advance since March 2009. The company said its U.S. unit had the best quarterly performance since 2006, spurring organic revenue growth of 2.5 percent for the whole company.

AB Foods gained 3.2 percent to 1,606 pence, the highest price since at least 1986, after saying first-quarter revenue increased 10 percent. The owner of the discount-clothing Primark chain said sales at the unit surged 25 percent.

Petropavlovsk surged 8.9 percent to 403.3 pence, the biggest rally since Sept. 14. The miner of gold in Russia said 2012 output rose 13 percent to 710,400 ounces, beating its 700,000-ounce guidance.

Remy Cointreau SA increased 3.8 percent to 91.78 euros after third-quarter organic revenue rose 0.5 percent, compared with estimates of analysts for a 0.6 percent decline. The company, which produces the Remy Martin cognac, also said cognac sales increased 1.7 percent.

Veolia Environnement SA rose 3.2 percent to 8.88 euros, its biggest gain in five weeks. Chief Executive Officer Antoine Frerot said the world’s largest water company is ahead in a two- year plan to cut debt, costs and sell assets.

SAP declined 1.5 percent to 58.13 euros after Citigroup lowered its recommendation on the stock to neutral from buy. The shares fell the most in six months on Jan. 15 as the world’s biggest maker of business-management software reported fourth- quarter earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates.

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