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06.11.2013 18:20

European stock close

European stocks climbed to a five-year high after companies from Alstom SA to ING Groep NV posted earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, and as industrial data from Germany and the U.K. improved.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 percent to 323.14 at 4:30 p.m. in London, its highest level since May 22, 2008. The equity benchmark has rallied 16 percent so far in 2013, its best performance since 2009.

A report from the Office for National Statistics showed U.K. industrial production rose 0.9 percent in September, rebounding from its biggest decline in almost a year and exceeding the median forecast for growth of 0.6 percent.

A release from Germany’s Economy Ministry showed factory orders in Europe’s largest economy increased 3.3 percent in September. That exceeded the 0.5 percent median estimate of economists..

Markit Economics’ gauge of services industries in the 17-nation euro area fell at a slower-than-projected rate in October. A separate report from the European Union’s statistics agency showed that retail sales in the currency bloc increased 0.3 percent in September from last year, less than the 0.6 percent gain that economists had predicted.

The European Central Bank will cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.25 percent at tomorrow’s meeting, according to three out of 70 estimates. Eight of 38 economists in a separate survey forecast policy makers will lower interest rates in December.

National benchmark indexes climbed in every Western-European market except the U.K. and Iceland.

FTSE 100 6,741.69 -5.15 -0.08% CAC 40 4,286.93 +33.59 +0.79% DAX 9,040.87 +31.76 +0.35%  

Alstom, the French maker of trains, gained 6.5 percent to 28.84 euros, its biggest advance since June 2012. Operating profit in the period between April 1 and Sept. 30 fell to 695 million euros from 703 million euros last year. That still beat the average analyst estimate of 664 million euros. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kron said the company will seek to sell a minority stake in Alstom Transport SA and other assets, according to a statement.

ING added 3.6 percent to 9.61 euros, rebounding from its biggest loss since August. Net income dropped 85 percent to 101 million euros in the third quarter from a year earlier, following a 950 million-euro writedown on the sale of its South Korean life insurance unit. Analysts had predicted a 27.3 million-euro loss. The Dutch financial-services company also said it has reached an agreement with the European Commission to sell more than 50 percent of ING Life Japan by the end of 2015.

Adecco climbed 3.6 percent to 68.50 Swiss francs after saying third-quarter net income surged 61 percent to 190 million euros. That exceeded the 138.2 million-euro average estimate of analysts. Sales dropped less in France this quarter, its largest market, while revenue from Spain and Portugal showed its first quarterly increase in more than two years, Adecco said in a statement.

Axel Springer AG, the publisher of the Die Welt and Bild-Zeitung newspapers in Germany, advanced 1.8 percent to 44.20 euros. Third-quarter sales rose 3.6 percent to 815.8 million euros from last year, beating the 808 million-euro average estimate.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) surged 15 percent to 167.20 kroner, its highest price since May 2011. The world’s largest wind-turbine maker forecast an earnings-before-interest-and-taxes margin of at least 2 percent in 2013, up from 1 percent in the second quarter. Vestas also said free cash flow will exceed 500 million euros and may climb as high as 700 million euros, more than double the previous estimate.

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