Bloomberg News

European Stocks Climb on Debt-Crisis Deal; Banks Lead Gains

October 27, 2011

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- European stocks rallied to the highest in 12 weeks after the region’s leaders agreed to expand a bailout fund to halt the sovereign debt crisis.

BNP Paribas SA, France’s biggest bank, and Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest, surged at least 15 percent as policy makers decided to boost the firepower of the European rescue fund to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion). PPR SA, the French owner of the Gucci luxury-goods brand, jumped 5.4 percent after third-quarter sales surpassed analyst estimates.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 3.6 percent to 249.42 at the close, the highest since Aug. 3. The index has rallied 16 percent from this year’s low on Sept. 22 amid growing speculation that policy makers would agree on a solution to the region’s debt woes.

“Some of the fear, which has been the dominant factor in the market, has been removed,” said Pierre Mouton, a fund manager who helps oversee $7.5 billion at Notz Stucki & Cie. in Geneva. “Europe came to an agreement and has a plan. This allows financial stocks to rise because there is no longer the specter of nationalization. There is a sense of relief for the banking sector.”

National benchmark indexes gained in all of the 18 western European markets. Germany’s DAX jumped 5.4 percent, its biggest increase since April 2009. France’s CAC 40 climbed 6.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 2.9 percent.

Crisis Summit

European leaders persuaded bondholders to take 50 percent losses on Greek debt and resolved to increase the size of the rescue fund, responding to global pressure to step up the fight against the financial crisis.

The euro area’s stewards said the plan points the way out of the debt quagmire, even if key details are lacking. Last- ditch talks with bank representatives led to the debt-relief accord, in an effort to quarantine Greece and prevent speculation against Italy and France from ravaging the euro area and wreaking global economic havoc.

Measures include recapitalization of European banks, a potentially bigger role for the International Monetary Fund, a commitment from Italy to do more to reduce its debt and a signal from leaders that the European Central Bank will maintain bond purchases in the secondary market.

“A lot of details are still to come out,” Ralph J. Silva Jr., a strategist at Silva Research Network in London, said on Bloomberg Television. “The overall perception I have is that it’s positive. It’s a very good start.”

U.S. Growth

The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in a year as gains in consumer spending and business investment helped support a recovery on the brink of faltering.

Gross domestic product rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate, matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and up from a 1.3 percent gain in the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Household purchases, the biggest part of the economy, increased at a more-than-projected 2.4 percent pace.

A gauge of banks in the Stoxx 600 rose 8.9 percent, for the biggest gain since May 2010. BNP climbed 17 percent to 35.13 euros. Deutsche Bank advanced 15 percent to 32.80 euros.

Societe Generale SA, France’s second-largest lender, jumped 23 percent to 23 euros. The bank said it will meet mid-2012 capital requirements “through its own means.” Credit Agricole SA, France’s third-biggest bank, soared 22 percent to 5.94 euros, its largest advance since September 2008.

Greek Plan

Greece’s ASE Index jumped 4.8 percent, led by banks. National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, surged 6.1 percent to 1.91 euros. Alpha Bank SA soared 3.9 percent to 1.08 euros. EFG Eurobank Ergasias increased 7 percent to 76 euro cents.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the government may buy shares in some Greek banks as a result of the planned writedown of the country’s debt and the European accord to recapitalize lenders. Papandreou didn’t give any details on the banks that would be targeted in any nationalization program or the size of any potential shareholdings.

The Stoxx 600 is trading at 10.7 times the estimated earnings of its companies, compared with the two-year low of 9.1 reached on Sept. 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Half of the 113 companies in the Stoxx 600 that have released earnings since Oct. 11 beat analyst profit estimates.

PPR, BASF

PPR advanced 5.4 percent to 116.50 euros. The company reported third-quarter sales that beat analysts’ estimates and said it expects to report an improved full-year financial performance. Revenue from continuing operations climbed 8 percent to 3.86 billion euros. The average of four analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 3.79 billion euros.

BASF SE, the world’s largest chemicals maker, rose 7.5 percent to 54.37 euros, the biggest increase since April 2009. The company reported third-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates as price increases and the purchase of cosmetic- ingredient maker Cognis helped limit a drop in margins.

Earnings before interest, taxes and items such as costs from acquisitions and restructuring fell 11 percent to 1.96 billion euros, the company said. Analysts had predicted 1.85 billion euros, according to the average of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Metals Rally

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, gained 7.1 percent to 2,109 pence as copper, lead, nickel and tin prices advanced in London. Xstrata Plc surged 11 percent to 1,111 pence and Antofagasta Plc 7.2 percent to 1,261 pence.

Michelin & Cie. jumped 5.1 percent to 54.94 euros. The world’s second-largest tiremaker said third-quarter revenue rose 11 percent to 5.14 billion euros, spurred by a rebound in demand from U.S. automakers and strong sales of its winter tires in Europe.

Michelin reiterated its forecast that sales will increase 8 percent during the full year. While free cash flow will be “temporarily negative” because of higher raw-material costs, operating profit should be “substantially higher,” it added.

Daimler AG added 3.1 percent to 39.07 euros. The world’s third-largest maker of luxury vehicles advanced after predicting higher fourth-quarter profit on gains at its trucks and vans divisions.

Logitech International SA, the world’s largest maker of computer mice, rallied 16 percent to 8.94 Swiss francs, its biggest increase since October 2007. The company confirmed its full-year guidance after three profit warnings in the past seven months.

Rhoen-Klinikum AG sank 6 percent to 14.31 euros. The operator of health-care facilities reported third-quarter net income and sales that missed estimates.

--With assistance from Alexis Xydias in London. Editors: Srinivasan Sivabalan, Andrew Rummer

To contact the reporter on this story: Adria Cimino in Paris at acimino1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net.


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