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European stocks advanced, extending their highest level since June 2008, as Bank of England Governor Mervyn King predicted that a recovery for the U.K. economy is within sight. U.S. index futures were little changed, while Asian shares rallied.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.3 percent to 306.57 at 10:44 a.m. in London. The equity benchmark has rallied 9.6 percent so far this year, bolstered by monetary stimulus from the world's central banks.
Reports on gross domestic product growth in Europe's two largest economies disappointed. France fell into its third recession since 2008, shrinking 0.2 percent, according to the national statistics office Insee. Germany narrowly avoided a contraction as it expanded less than economists had forecast. GDP rose 0.1 percent in the first quarter, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today.
Commerzbank surged 14 percent to 7.97 euros on the first day of its 2.5 billion-euro ($3.2 billion) capital increase. Germany's second-biggest lender is offering its investors 20 shares for every 21 they hold at 4.50 euros apiece. Bank of America Corp. upgraded the lender to buy, saying that the company has become too cheap.
ThyssenKrupp rose 3 percent to 15.56 euros after the steelmaker reported second-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of 241 million euros. That beat the 202.3 million-euro average analyst estimate. The company also posted a first-half net loss of 621 million euros after a writedown of its Americas unit.
EasyJet Plc (EZJ) gained 5.9 percent to 1,197 pence after Europe's second-largest discount carrier said it will deliver improved returns and profitability in the full year. Revenue per seat for the second half through Sept. 30 will probably climb 4 percent. The company also narrowed its first-half pretax loss to 61 million pounds ($93 million) from 112 million pounds a year earlier.
ITV slid 3 percent to 127.8 pence after Chief Executive Officer Adam Crozier said in a statement that the company was cautious about TV advertising in 2013. The commercial broadcaster forecast that revenue from its network of television channels will fall 3 percent in its first half.
FTSE 100 6,688.3 +2.24 +0.03%
CAC 40 3,973.49 +7.43 +0.19%DAX 8,353.77 +14.66 +0.18%
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