Bloomberg News

European Stocks Gain Before Crisis Meetings

August 21, 2012

European Stock Futures Gain Before Crisis Meetings, U.S. Reports

Lindt chocolate products sit on display inside the Lindt & Spruengli AG store at the company's factory in Kilchberg, near Zurich. Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg

European (SXXP) stocks advanced as investors awaited reports that may show the U.S. economy is improving and a series of bilateral meetings between the leaders of countries in the euro area. U.S. index futures were little changed, while Asian shares rose.

Lonmin Plc (LMI) gained 2.5 percent as Executive Vice President for Mining Mark Munroe said striking miners who don’t return to work today may keep their jobs. Lindt & Spruengli AG (LISN) retreated after saying that Europe’s chocolate market remained “flat” in the first half of this year. Straumann Holding AG (STMN) slumped 6.7 percent after earnings missed analysts’ projections.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.5 percent to 272.86 at 8:27 a.m. in London. European stocks advanced to their highest level since July 2011 last week, rallying for an 11th consecutive week, amid optimism that policy makers will act to protect the region’s banks and as U.S. consumer sentiment and leading economic indicators exceeded forecasts.

“With volume and volatility continuing to make surprising declines, equity valuations seem wholly dependent on new rounds of stimulus,” said Jonathan Sudaria, a trader at Capital Spreads in London. “It’s turned most traders into clock watchers.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in September gained 0.2 percent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.4 percent. The volume of shares changing hands on the Stoxx 600 was 2.8 percent higher than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bilateral Meetings

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of euro-area finance ministers, visits Athens tomorrow to listen to a request by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for a two-year extension to the country’s fiscal-adjustment program. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin on Aug. 23.

In the U.S., house sales and durable goods orders probably increased in July, economists said before reports this week.

A report tomorrow may show that sales of existing properties rose to a 4.51 million annual pace from a 4.37 million pace in June, economists predicted. A release on Aug. 23 will show new house purchases climbed to a 365,000 annual rate in July from a 350,000 pace in June, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

On Aug. 24, a Commerce Department report may show that durable-goods orders rose 2.5 percent, the most this year, economists projected.

Lonmin, Lindt

Lonmin, which has seen its platinum mine in South Africa shutdown by strike action, advanced 2.5 percent to 625 pence after a senior executive said it will ignore its own deadline for employees to return to work by today or face dismissal.

“A deadline or ultimatum isn’t helping anyone,” he said in an interview on Talk Radio 702. “There is a lot of action you can take before you dismiss someone.”

Lindt slipped 0.8 percent to 2,985 Swiss francs. The maker of the Lindt chocolate bunny said that its customers in the U.S. were “increasingly reluctant” to spend. The company also reported first-half earnings before interest and taxes of 48.7 million Swiss francs ($50 million), higher than the average analyst estimate of 48 million francs.

Straumann plunged 6.7 percent to 116.20 francs after reporting first-half Ebit of 53.3 million francs. That missed the average analyst estimate of 59.3 million francs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Namitha Jagadeesh in London at njagadeesh@bloomberg.net

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


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