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European stocks rose, sending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to its highest level since May 2008, as German unemployment fell the most in two years and Ireland returned to the bond market after completing a bailout program.
Unemployment in Germany declined the most since December 2011, data showed today. The number of people out of work in Europe’s largest economy decreased by a seasonally-adjusted 15,000, after increasing a revised 9,000 in November, the Nuremberg-based Federal Labor Agency said. Economists in a Bloomberg News survey predicted a drop of 1,000. The adjusted jobless rate remained unchanged at 6.9 percent.
National equity benchmarks rose in 16 of the 18 western European markets. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.8 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 0.4 percent.
Maersk increased 3.5 percent to 62,300 kroner. The owner of the world’s largest container-shipping line said it will sell a 48.68 percent stake in Dansk Supermarked A/S and 18.72 percent of F. Salling A/S to partners F. Salling Invest A/S and F. Salling Holding A/S. Maersk (MAERSKB) said it will book a gain of 14 billion kroner ($2.56 billion) from proceeds of as much as 17 billion kroner.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S climbed 6.1 percent to 197.40 kroner, the highest price since April 2011 for the world’s biggest wind-turbine maker. The stock rose for a 10th day, its longest rally in eight months. Vestas gained 5.5 percent yesterday as it upgraded its estimate for 2013 free cash flow.
Swedish Match fell 5.5 percent to 196.60 kronor. Citigroup Inc. downgraded the shares to sell from neutral, citing competitive pressures in 2014. The brokerage reduced its price forecast for the shares to 193 kronor from 225 kronor.
Hugo Boss slid 2.3 percent to 100 euros. Societe Generale SA downgraded the the luxury-clothing maker controlled by buyout firm Permira Advisers LLP. to hold from buy.
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