European stocks posted a second weekly gain, with the STOXX Europe 600 Index completing the biggest monthly increase this year, as companies from Ericsson AB to Volkswagen AG reported better-than-estimated earnings.
Ericsson surged 16 percent as the biggest maker of mobile-phone networks reported first--quarter profit that more than tripled. Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, jumped 12 percent. Parmalat SpA soared the most in two years as Groupe Lactalis offered to buy the 71 percent of Italy’s biggest dairy company it doesn’t already own.
The STOXX 600 advanced 1.2 percent to 283.78 this past week, for a 2.9 percent increase this month.
The measure has surged 8.2 percent from this year’s low on March 16 as companies from UBS AG to Akzo Nobel NV reported earnings that exceeded forecasts and the US Federal Reserve maintained its pledge to keep interest rates low for an “extended period.”
“There are enough reasons to be positive on equities,” Vincent Juvyns, an equity strategist at ING Investment Management in Brussels, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
“We see it in the earnings season. There are a lot of reasons to be worried about the macroeconomic context, but at the same time, on the microeconomic level, companies are doing well,” Juvyns said.
Of the 113 companies in the STOXX 600 that have reported earnings since April 11, 66 have beaten analyst forecasts for per-share profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
National benchmark indexes rose in all of Europe’s 18 Western markets, except Austria and Denmark.
France’s CAC 40 gained 2.1 percent, the UK’s FTSE 100 Index climbed 0.9 percent, while Germany’s DAX rallied 3 percent.