Most European stocks advanced amid shortened trading hours for Christmas Eve and before reports on U.S. durable-goods orders and new-house sales. U.S. index futures and Asian shares were little changed.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.2 percent to 324.18 at 9:40 a.m. in London as more than two stocks climbed for every one that dropped.
“A more synchronized growth story is set to unfold in 2014, with each of the major regions logging positive gross domestic product and most seeing a pick-up over 2013,” Hans Olsen, the New York-based chief investment officer for the Americas at Barclays Wealth, wrote in a report. “The prospect of greater volatility and lower returns aside, developed equity markets will likely offer a compensatory return for investors.”
European stocks yesterday completed their biggest four-day rally since April after the International Monetary Fund said it will raise its forecast for U.S. economic growth. The Stoxx 600 has gained 16 percent this year, putting it on course for its best annual performance since 2009, as the European Central Bank and the Bank of England pledged to leave interest rates near record lows for a prolonged period.
U.S. GDP will probably accelerate in 2014, according to economists’ estimates, while the euro area will return to growth after two years of contraction. Japan may expand for a third year, the forecasts show.
A Commerce Department report will show that orders for durable goods in the U.S. rose 2 percent in November, according to poll of economists. The department will release figures on new house sales for last month. They will show that Americans bought 440,000 new properties at an annual pace in November, according to economists surveyed. New-house sales amounted to 444,000 in October.
Boskalis gained 2.8 percent to 38.28 euros. The company said its Dockwise business has won a contract to transport equipment from China and Malaysia to Chevron Corp.’s Wheatstone project in Western Australia. Separately, Het Financieele Dagblad reported that Boskalis has started talks to buy Fairmount Marine BV. The newspaper cited a company spokesman.
Bankia added 2.3 percent to 1.18 euros. The lender said after markets closed yesterday that it has reached an agreement with an unidentified buyer to cede its stakes in a portfolio of venture-capital firms. It disclosed no financial details.
FTSE 100 6,703.65 +25.04 +0.37%
CAC 40 4,217.17 +1.88 +0.04%
DAX 9,488.82 +88.64 +0.94% Closed
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