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European stocks climbed, extending a third consecutive weekly gain, as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose to its highest level in six years.
The Stoxx 600 rose 0.4 percent to 336.09 at the close of trading, for a 0.8 percent weekly gain. The gauge has rallied 5.8 percent since Feb. 4 as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s pledge to continue her predecessor’s approach to stimulus policy fueled optimism that the U.S. economic recovery can withstand reduced monthly bond purchases.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 16 of 18 western-European market today. Germany’s DAX gained 0.4 percent, France’s CAC 40 added 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.4 percent.
Vodafone rose 3 percent to 236.5 pence. The telecommunications company’s adjusted valuation after the disposal of its stake in Verizon Wireless may make it an attractive target for AT&T Inc., according to UBS analyst Nick Lyall. AT&T said on Jan. 27 it does not plan to make an offer for the U.K. wireless carrier, meaning it can’t offer to buy a stake of 30 percent or more in Vodafone for the following six months, according to U.K. takeover rules.
Valeo added 13 percent to 99.07 euros, its highest price since 1998, after saying earnings before interest, taxes and other expenses rose 16 percent to 411 million euros ($564 million) in the second half of 2013. That beat the 375 million-euro average of three analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Technip SA rose 2.5 percent to 71.74 euros, capping its largest two-day increase since May 2009. Societe Generale SA upgraded its rating on the stock to buy from neutral, saying Europe’s largest oilfield-services provider may begin to reduce costs as it introduces tighter controls on spending.
Kering SA slipped 2.3 percent to 151.45 euros. Sales at the Gucci brand, which made up about 37 percent of total revenue in 2013, rose 0.2 percent in the final three months of last year, according to a statement. That was the slowest quarterly growth in four years and trailed the 0.8 percent increase projected by analysts. Kering said recurring operating income fell to 1.75 billion euros in 2013 from 1.79 billion euros a year earlier. Analysts had predicted 1.77 billion euros.
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