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European stocks rose to their highest level in 3 1/2 months as Chinese economic data beat estimates and the U.S. offered to defer an attack on Syria if it complied with a Russian proposal to give up chemical weapons.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rallied 1.4 percent to 309.99 at 4:30 p.m. in London, its highest level since May 22. The gauge has surged 11 percent this year as central banks around the world maintained stimulus measures and the global economy showed signs of recovery.
China’s industrial output rose 10.4 percent in August from a year earlier and retail sales gained 13.4 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. The advance in industrial production compared with a median estimate for 9.9 percent growth and a 9.7 percent increase in July. The retail-sales figure compared with a projection for 13.3 percent advance and a 13.2 percent gain the previous month.
National benchmarks rose in 17 of the 18 western European markets today.
FTSE 100 6,583.99 +53.25 +0.82% CAC 40 4,116.64 +76.31 +1.89% DAX 8,446.54 +170.22 +2.06%
U.S. President Barack Obama said on ABC News that an assault on Syria will “absolutely” be put on hold if it agrees to surrender chemical weapons. Interfax reported that Bashar al-Assad’s government accepted a Russian-backed plan to establish international control over such arms following an attack last month that killed hundreds of people in the suburbs of Damascus. Obama will address Americans on television at 9 p.m. Washington time.
Peugeot gained 1.9 percent to 12.33 euros, its highest since March 2012. Maxime Picat, managing director of the Peugeot brand, said at the Frankfurt auto show the carmaker will not cut prices even as it faces price pressure in Europe. Separately, a report from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed auto sales to dealerships in the world’s second-biggest economy rose 11 percent last month from a year ago.
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) advanced 2.5 percent to 329.25 pence, its highest price since May 30. The world’s biggest exporter of power-station coal said in a statement that “synergies” from its merger with Xstrata will be at least $2 billion, exceeding the initial guidance of $500 million. The Baar, Switzerland-based company released the statement before its investor meeting in London today.
Neste Oil surged 13 percent to 17.29 euros. Finland’s only refiner said comparable operating profit will increase to more than 530 million euros ($702 million) in 2013. Earlier, the company had merely said profit will be an improvement over last year’s 355 million euros.
Ashmore Group Plc (ASHM) jumped 5.8 percent to 384.1 pence. The U.K. fund manager that invests in emerging markets reported full-year pretax profit and revenue that exceeded estimates. The London-based company also raised its dividend.
Eiffage SA lost 5.2 percent to 41.40 euros. Groupama SA sold shares of the company that manages toll roads and other infrastructure at 41.75 euros apiece, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction.
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