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07.03.2013 18:21

European stocks close

Most European stocks advanced as the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy is growing and the European Central Bank and Bank of England kept their benchmark interest rates on hold.

The ECB kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent today, as forecast by 56 of 61 economists in a survey. The central bank predicted the euro-area economy will shrink 0.5 percent this year, more than the 0.3 percent contraction it forecast three months ago.

The Bank of England also left its key rate unchanged, along with its four-year-old bond-purchase program. The Monetary Policy Committee maintained its target for quantitative easing at 375 billion pounds ($564 billion), as forecast by 29 of 39 economists in a survey. The remainder had predicted an expansion of at least 25 billion pounds.

National benchmark indexes gained in 13 of the 18 western- European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index added 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent. Germany’s DAX increased 0.3 percent.

Aggreko surged 10 percent to 1,939 pence, its biggest gain since October 2008, as the company forecast “double digit” average revenue growth over the next five years.

Carrefour climbed 2.9 percent to 22 euros, its highest price since July 2011. Annual recurring operating income fell 2.6 percent to 2.14 billion euros ($2.8 billion), beating the 2.07 billion-euro average analyst estimate.

Adidas AG climbed 6.6 percent to 76.38 euros, the highest price since the shares started trading in November 1995. The world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker forecast higher sales and profit this year and raised its dividend by 35 percent as it targets fast-growing emerging markets.

Aviva plummeted 13 percent to 314.8 pence, its biggest drop since March 2009. The U.K.’s second-largest insurer by market value said it won’t pay bonuses to its executive directors or award pay rises for 2013 after cutting its second-half dividend by 44 percent. The company will pay a final dividend of 9 pence a share for 2012, down from 16 pence in the previous year.

Davide Campari-Milano SpA slipped 2.7 percent to 5.88 euros. The maker of Skyy vodka reported an unexpected drop in annual profit amid declining sales in Italy and Brazil and said this year will also be “challenging.”


Market Focus

  • The eurozone started the third quarter on a solid footing, according to PMI survey data
  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • German private sector output growth slowed for the second month running in July
  • ECB's Mersch says as conditions normalise, it is unlikely that uncoventional policies will remain necessary
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