European stocks rallied for a second week, closing at their highest level since May 2008, following better-than-forecast US economic data and after the IMF said it is to raise its growth outlook for the nation.
Chipmakers ARM Holdings PLC and Dialog Semiconductor PLC climbed more than 2.9 percent each after Apple Inc struck a deal with China Mobile Ltd to sell the iPhone in the world’s biggest handset market.
British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC rose 6.4 percent on speculation Vodafone Group PLC will bid for the company. International Personal Finance PLC tumbled 25 percent after its Polish unit was fined.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2 percent to 327.68 this week. The equity gauge, which fell in the first two weeks of this month, is on track for a monthly increase of 0.8 percent. The index has gained 17 percent this year as central bankers around the world pledged to leave interest rates near record lows for a prolonged period.
The Stoxx 600 climbed every December since 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
European exchanges were closed for more than two days for the Christmas holiday and Boxing Day. National benchmark indexes rose.
The UK’s FTSE 100 advanced 2.2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX gained 2 percent.
ARM Holdings rose 3.6 percent and Dialog climbed 2.9 percent. China Mobile is to sell the iPhone 5s and 5c models in its retail stores from Jan. 17.
BSkyB climbed 6.4 percent. The Daily Mail reported that there was speculation Vodafone may bid for the company to bundle its broadband, TV and landline offerings with Vodafone’s mobile services.
Aareal Bank AG rallied 9.2 percent after acquiring Corealcredit Bank AG for 342 million euros (US$471 million). Corealcredit specializes in commercial property financing in Germany.
HSBC Holdings PLC raised the shares to overweight, the equivalent of a buy, from neutral, or hold, after the announcement.
International Personal Finance plunged 25 percent.
The lender of small, unsecured cash loans said the Polish Office of Consumer Protection and Competition fined its local unit ￡2.4 million (US$4 million) for infringing consumers’ interests.