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European stocks rose to their highest level in six years as mining companies rallied, and a report showed builders started work on more houses in the U.S. last month than economists had forecast.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.5 percent to 335.68 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The benchmark has advanced 1.7 percent this week, its second consecutive weekly gain, as the World Bank raised its forecast for global growth in 2014 and 2015.
Earnings for Stoxx 600 companies will climb 14 percent in 2014, according to analysts’ estimates. They fell 5 percent last year, the projections show. The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the benchmark was 31 percent greater than the average of the last 30 days.
A gauge of mining companies posted the best performance among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
A Commerce Department report showed U.S. housing starts fell 9.8 percent to a 999,000 annualized rate in December, from a revised 1.11 million in November. Economists had forecast a drop of 9.7 percent to a 985,000 pace.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment unexpectedly dropped to 80.4 this month from 82.5 in December, a preliminary report showed. Economists had projected a reading of 83.5.
National benchmark indexes gained in 15 of the 18 western-European markets.
FTSE 100 6,829.3 +13.88 +0.20% CAC 40 4,327.5 +8.23 +0.19% DAX 9,742.96 +25.25 +0.26%
Accor advanced 1.7 percent to 35.96 euros. Earnings before interest and taxes probably reached 530 million euros ($719 million) last year, the owner of the Sofitel hotel chain said. It had estimated Ebit of 510 million euros to 530 million euros.
Pandora A/S added 2.8 percent to 317.50 kroner after raising its sales and profit-">PSA Peugeot Citroen rose 2.3 percent to 11.48 euros after people familiar with the matter said its board will meet on Jan. 19 to decide whether to accept investments of 500 million euros apiece from Dongfeng Motor Corp. and the French government. Peugeot would give both potential investors 10 percent of its stock, the people said.
Shell slipped 0.9 percent to 2,174.5 pence after Europe’s biggest oil producer forecast adjusted earnings excluding some items of $2.9 billion for the fourth quarter. Analysts had estimated $4.9 billion, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Essilor International SA declined 2.4 percent to 79.38 euros after the maker of lenses for glasses said it expects full-year comparable sales growth excluding currency swings of 5.4 percent. The company had forecast growth of about 6 percent.
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