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European stocks climbed to their highest level in almost six weeks, following the biggest weekly advance for the region’s equity benchmark in two months, as Chinese economic growth matched forecasts.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.4 percent to 297.38 at the close of trading in London, after earlier advancing as much as 0.7 percent. The gauge jumped 2.7 percent last week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke backed sustained monetary stimulus for the world’s largest economy.
Stocks climbed as a report showed China’s gross domestic product expanded 7.5 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. That equaled the median forecast and the government’s target rate for 2013. The economy expanded at a 7.7 percent pace in the first quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The country’s Finance Minister Lou Jiwei signaled on July 12 that the world’s second-biggest economy may expand at a slower pace this year than the government has targeted.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 13 of the 18 western-European markets today.
FTSE 100 6,586.11 +41.17 +0.63% CAC 40 3,878.58 +23.49 +0.61% DAX 8,234.81 +22.04 +0.27%
Fitch Ratings lowered France’s credit rating on July 12, citing concern about the lack of growth and the accumulation of debt in Europe’s second-largest economy.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc led a gauge of U.K. lenders higher today after Rightmove predicted that asking prices for British homes will increase 4 percent this year. It had forecast a gain of 2 percent. The property-website operator also reported that asking prices rose to a record in July.
RBS (RBS), which is owned by the state, jumped 5.1 percent to 320 pence. Lloyds Banking Group Plc, the nation’s biggest mortgage lender, added 2.5 percent to 69.4 pence, while Barclays Plc increased 1.2 percent to 309.8 pence.
Commerzbank climbed 4.7 percent to 6.25 euros after Wells Fargo and Lone Star agreed to set up a consortium to buy the German lender’s Hypothekenbank Frankfurt real-estate portfolio in the U.K. The transaction will close in the third quarter.
SEB AB gained 2 percent to 70.75 kronor after Sweden’s fourth-largest bank by market value reported that net income jumped 28 percent to 3.79 billion kronor ($567 million) in the second quarter. That beat the average analyst estimate of 3.21 billion kronor.
Kuehne & Nagel International AG added 2 percent to 112.30 francs after the world’s biggest sea-freight forwarder said profit increased 6.3 percent to 153 million Swiss francs ($161 million) in the second quarter. That met the average estimate.
Mediaset SpA (MS) surged 6.9 percent to 3.44 euros after UBS AG raised its target price on the broadcaster controlled by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to 3.60 euros from 2.40 euros. The brokerage said Mediaset may reveal improved advertising sales when it posts first-half results on August 1.
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