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Most European stocks advanced as German business confidence rose to the highest level since April 2012 and investors weighed comments by European Central Bank officials.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.1 percent to 322.73 at 4:30 p.m. in London as almost three shares in the gauge increased for every two that fell. The benchmark lost less than 0.1 percent this week as Federal Reserve minutes signaled policy makers may reduce $85 billion of bond purchases sooner than investors predicted.
The Ifo institute’s German business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, increased to 109.3 this month from 107.4 in October. That beat economists’ forecast for a gain to 107.7, according to survey.
Euro-area finance ministers are meeting in Brussels today. The ministers will examine national budgets a week after the European Commission raised doubts about the credibility of Italy’s and Spain’s spending plans, warning they don’t go far enough to narrow deficits or reduce debt. The meeting is part of tougher budget-oversight rules introduced last year.
ECB governing council member Peter Praet said at a conference in Paris that Europe has a debt overhang problem that needs to be addressed “forcefully.” Policy makers have already lost time in tackling it, he said. His colleague in the council and Bank of Austria governor, Ewald Otto Nowotny, said the regional economy has too little demand and fixing the banking system alone isn’t enough to end the crisis.
National benchmarks rose in 13 of the 18 western European markets.
FTSE 100 6,674.3 -7.03 -0.11% CAC 40 4,278.53 +24.63 +0.58% DAX 9,219.04 +22.96 +0.25%
Daily Mail climbed 3.3 percent to 890.5 pence, its highest price since January 2001. Barclays upgraded the stock to equal weight from underweight. The brokerage said it sees no factors that could drive down the stock price in the next 12 months.
Whitbread climbed 2.9 percent to 3,481 pence. JPMorgan Chase raised its recommendation on the owner of Premier Inn budget hotels to overweight from neutral. The brokerage cited the economic rebound in the U.K.
Rhoen-Klinikum fell 3.2 percent to 20.47 euros. B. Braun Melsungen AG, which holds a 10.98 percent stake in the company, asked the court to void the sale of clinics or rule it needs 90 percent shareholder support, Rhoen-Klinikum said in a statement.
TUI Travel Plc tumbled 7.6 percent to 359.8 pence as Norwegian billionaire John Fredriksen sold his entire stake in the company and bought more stock in parent company TUI AG.
Suedzucker AG, which makes sugar, starch and bakery additives, retreated 7.9 percent to 19.15 euros after the shares were downgraded to reduce from buy by Commerzbank AG.
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