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29.08.2013 17:20

European stock close

European stocks rose, erasing their monthly loss, as Vodafone (VOD) Group Plc surged to an 11-year high while data showed the U.S. economy grew faster than forecast in the second quarter and a drop in jobless claims beat estimates.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.8 percent to 300.23 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The gauge lost 2.2 percent in the past three days, closing yesterday at a six-week low, on concern the U.S. will take military action against Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry this week said America will hold Syria accountable for the chemical-weapon attacks that opposition groups say killed as many as 1,300.

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent annualized rate in the second quarter, Commerce Department figures showed. That compared with the initial estimate of 1.7 percent and economists’ median estimate of a 2.3 percent gain. A separate report showed applications for jobless benefits fell by 6,000 to 331,000 last week from a revised 337,000 in the prior week.

The prospect of imminent military action against Syria weakened as the U.K. and France said they prefer waiting for the results of a United Nations investigation into alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad’s government against its citizens. The U.S., which says it has evidence his administration was responsible, will not act without allies, according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

National benchmark indexes gained in all of the western European markets except Iceland and Switzerland.

FTSE 100 6,483.05 +52.99 +0.82% CAC 40 3,986.35 +25.89 +0.65% DAX 8,194.55 +36.65 +0.45%

Vodafone surged 8.6 percent to 205.5 pence, its highest price since January 2002. Europe’s biggest wireless carrier said it is in talks with Verizon to sell its 45 percent stake in their Verizon Wireless venture.

The transaction may be valued at $130 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. At that price, the deal would be the biggest since Vodafone’s acquisition of Mannesmann AG in 2000 and would give the U.K. carrier’s finances a boost as it tries to revive operations hurt by Europe’s debt crisis.

Carrefour (CA) rose 5.7 percent to 24.09 euros, for its biggest gain since Jan. 17. France’s largest retailer reported a 4.9 percent increase in first-half profit as consistent pricing and improved store management helped stabilize domestic revenue. Recurring operating income jumped to 766 million euros ($1.02 billion), in line with the median analyst estimate of 767 million euros.

Melrose Industries Plc (MRO) advanced 6.4 percent to 302.7 pence, its highest price since it sold shares to the public in October 2003. The owner of Brush Turbogenerators said first-half sales more than doubled from a year earlier.

WPP Plc climbed 4.9 percent to 1,236 pence, its highest price since March 2000. The world’s largest advertising company said first-half sales increased 7.1 percent on stronger growth in the U.K. and North America, helping counter a slowdown in Asia and Africa.

Baloise Holding AG (BALN) gained 2.7 percent to 100.30 Swiss francs. Switzerland’s third-biggest insurer said higher non-life sales pushed up first-half net income to 244.8 million francs ($265 million), from 218.3 million francs in the year-before period. The company also said it is on track to meet its financial targets.

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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