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European stocks rose, after four weeks of gains for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as investors weighed company earnings and awaited this week’s interest-rate decision from the European Central Bank. U.S. index futures gained while Asian shares declined.
Dufry AG advanced 2.1 percent after the operator of duty-free shops reported increased revenue. PostNL NV added 4.8 percent after the Dutch postal operator raised its income guidance. Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA) tumbled 7.5 percent after cutting its profit forecast amid higher competition and a weaker economy in Europe.
The Stoxx 600 gained 0.4 percent to 322.77 at 8:03 a.m. in London, extending this year’s rally to 15 percent. The benchmark measure climbed 0.4 percent last week as companies from BP Plc to Alcatel-Lucent SA posted results that exceeded analysts’ estimates and cooling inflation fueled speculation the ECB will ease monetary policy.
“Although the ECB meeting is still a few days away and expectations are for no change on current policy, traders are eagerly anticipating some form of dovish hint that looser conditions are on the way,” Jonathan Sudaria, a trader at Capital Spreads in London, wrote in e-mailed comments.
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) futures rose 0.2 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index slipped 0.3 percent. Markets in Japan and India were closed for holidays.
Bank of America Corp., UBS AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc forecast the ECB will cut rates at the Nov. 7 meeting, according to a Bloomberg News survey of 68 economists, with the rest predicting no change. The ECB last lowered its benchmark rate in May to a record 0.5 percent. Board member Joerg Asmussen speaks in Berlin today.
In the U.S., data at 10 a.m. Washington time may show factory orders rose 1.8 percent in September, according to a Bloomberg survey before today’s release. Growth in the world’s biggest economy slowed last quarter to 2 percent from 2.5 percent in the previous three months, a separate survey showed before data due Nov. 7.
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said the U.S. central bank should end its record stimulus as soon as possible.
“At the earliest possible moment we need to focus on transitioning back to having an interest-rate-driven monetary policy,” Fisher said in Sydney today.
The Confederation of British Industry raised its forecasts for U.K. economic growth and said it expects business investment and trade to aid the recovery starting next year. The business lobby sees the economy expanding 1.4 percent this year and 2.4 percent in 2014, it said in a quarterly report. That’s up from 1.2 percent and 2.3 percent projected in August.
Traders have pushed futures tracking European stock-market volatility to the highest prices of the year, spurred by a stock-market rally that sent valuations in the region to levels not seen since 2009.
Three-month futures are pricing in a 24 percent increase in the VStoxx Index and traded 32 percent above the gauge’s level on Oct. 25, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The VStoxx, which tracks one-month volatility expectations for the Euro Stoxx 50 Index, is down 31 percent from its October high.
Dufry (DUFN) added 2.1 percent to 148.20 Swiss francs. The Swiss company said nine-month sales jumped 14 percent to 2.69 billion francs ($3 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization during the period also rose.
PostNL climbed 4.8 percent to 4.05 euros in Amsterdam. The company said it had managed to cut costs and boosted its forecast for full-year underlying cash operating profit to 130 million euros ($175 million) to 160 million euros, compared with previous guidance of 50 million euros to 90 million euros.
Fuchs Petrolub SE increased 1.3 percent to 60.15 euros. The German lubricant maker said nine-month Ebit climbed to 237.2 million euros from 224.2 million euros. Sales during the period were almost unchanged at 1.38 billion euros.
Ryanair lost 7.5 percent to 5.64 euros. Europe’s biggest discount airline said net income for the year ended March 31 will be in the range of 500 million euros to 520 million euros. The Dublin-based carrier had previously predicted profit of as little as 570 million euros and had cautioned that it may fall short of that number. Earnings last year were 569 million euros.
EasyJet Plc, Europe’s second-biggest discount carrier, sank 5 percent to 1,231 pence.
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