European stocks rose for a second day as investors awaited the European Central Bank’s rate decision and companies including Daimler AG and Volvo (VOLVB) AB beat earnings forecasts. U.S. stock-index futures and Asian shares advanced.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 1 percent to 321.15 at 10:43 a.m. in London. The benchmark has fallen 2.2 percent so far this year amid a selloff in emerging-market currencies, signs of slowing economic growth in China and slowing stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
“Markets are stabilizing, partly in anticipation of the ECB,” Philippe Gijsels, chief strategy officer at BNP Paribas Fortis, said by telephone from Brussels. “The market may not be counting on immediate action, but it expects the ECB to at least say that they’re worried about emerging markets and that they’re ready to act.”
The ECB meets to discuss monetary policy today after a rout that has seen about $3 trillion erased from the value of equities worldwide this year. All except four of 66 economists in a survey said the central bank will leave its benchmark rate at a record low of 0.25 percent when it announces its decision at 1:45 p.m. Frankfurt time. President Mario Draghi will hold a press conference 45 minutes later.
The Bank of England will also probably keep its key rate at 0.5 percent when it meets today, survey showed.
Eighteen of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 advanced today, with auto-related companies leading gains.
Daimler rose 4.1 percent to 63.36 euros. The third-largest maker of luxury vehicles said earnings before interest and taxes from ongoing operations rose to 2.53 billion euros ($3.42 billion) from 1.74 billion euros a year earlier. That beat the 2.37 billion-euro average estimate of analysts. Revenue gained 7.6 percent to 32.1 billion euros on demand for the new Mercedes-Benz CLA coupe and revamped flagship S-Class sedan.
Volvo advanced 4.3 percent to 89.20 kronor. The world’s second-biggest truckmaker reported fourth-quarter operating profit of 3.08 billion kronor ($471 million), exceeding analysts’ projections for 2.04 billion kronor. Volvo also said it will fire 4,400 employees, extending a previously announced reduction of 2,000 jobs. The majority of the cuts will take place in 2014.
Alcatel-Lucent jumped 9.6 percent to 3.32 euros. The Paris-based company posted net income of 134 million euros, compared with a 1.56 billion-euro loss a year earlier. It also got a binding offer from China Huaxin for its business that sells telecommunications equipment and services. Alcatel will keep a 15 percent stake in the unit.
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