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22.04.2013 17:20

European stock close:

European stocks rose, rebounding from the biggest weekly drop in five months, as Italy elected a president and the Group of 20 refrained from opposing the Bank of Japan’s stimulus policies.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) advanced 0.2 percent to 285.68 at the close of trading. The benchmark gauge pared an earlier gain of as much as 0.9 percent as U.S. home sales unexpectedly fell. The measure retreated 2.5 percent last week as economic data from the U.S. to China missed forecasts. It has still risen 2.2 percent this year.

National benchmark indexes climbed in 11 of the 18 western European markets.

FTSE 100 6,280.62 -5.97 -0.09% CAC 40 3,652.13 +0.17 0.00% DAX 7,478.11 +18.15 +0.24%

Giorgio Napolitano was elected to a second term as Italy’s president after accepting a last-minute appeal from party leaders to run again. The 87-year-old incumbent won the backing of parties led by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti and outgoing Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani. His re-election came after the country’s divided Parliament failed to agree on a candidate in the first five rounds of voting, an impasse that led Bersani to resign. Italy has yet to form a new government eight weeks after inconclusive elections.

In the U.S., purchases of previously owned houses fell 0.6 percent to a 4.92 million annual rate last month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed. The median forecast of economists projected sales would increase to a 5 million rate.

UniCredit, Italy’s largest lender, gained 2.7 percent to 3.73 euros. Banco Popolare SC, the fourth-biggest bank by assets, rose 4.5 percent to 1.10 euros. Mediobanca SpA, the nation’s largest publicly traded investment bank, added 2 percent to 4.67 euros.

Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G), Italy’s biggest insurer, added 5.2 percent to 13.48 euros, the highest price since Feb. 1. The stock was upgraded to overweight, a rating similar to buy, from equal weight at Barclays Plc, which said the company may raise its dividend this year.

Delhaize soared 11 percent to 47.16 euros, the highest since November 2011. First-quarter operating profit before one- time items rose 13 percent to 214 million euros ($279 million), the Brussels-based company said. Analysts had projected a decline to 175 million euros, according to the average of 17 estimates published on its website. Comparable sales in the U.S. gained 1.9 percent, the most in six quarters.

SMA Solar Technology AG, Germany’s biggest solar-energy company by market value, surged 4.7 percent to 18.32 euros after ABB Ltd. (ABBN) agreed to buy U.S. peer Power-One Inc. for about $1 billion. Meyer Burger Technology AG, which supplies machinery to solar-panel makers, advanced 3.7 percent to 7.37 Swiss francs.

Randgold Resources Ltd., a miner of the precious metal in Africa, jumped 4.4 percent to 4,870 pence as gold prices increased for a fifth day.

Philips slid 5.2 percent to 20.54 euros, the biggest drop since May 2012. First-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and one-time items were 421 million euros, the world’s largest lighting manufacturer said, missing estimates of 441 million euros. Sales dropped 0.9 percent to 5.26 billion euros, trailing the 5.48 billion-euro analyst projection.

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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