European stocks rise for second week on improved confidence

UPWARD SPIRAL::Analysts said several confidence indicators in the European markets improved, which further motivated investors


Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - Page 15

European stocks rose the most in more than a month this week, erasing their losses for the year, on better-than-forecast confidence data.

Luxottica Group SpA jumped the most since May 2009 after saying it will design spectacles that use Google Inc’s Glass technology.

Marine Harvest ASA pushed food and beverage stocks higher after agreeing to sell UK farming assets and saying it may pay a greater quarterly dividend.

Resolution Ltd and Prudential PLC fell more than 4 percent each after the UK financial regulator said it will investigate possible unfair charges levied on life-insurance policies.

The STOXX Europe 600 Index rose 1.8 percent to 333.76 this week, paring this month’s loss to 1.3 percent.

The gauge dropped the first two weeks of this month as concern grew that the crisis in Ukraine would escalate.

The STOXX 600 has climbed 1.7 percent this year.

“There’s optimism in the European markets,” said Ramiro Loureiro, a Lisbon-based market analyst at Banco Comercial Portugues SA’s Millennium unit. “The improvement in several confidence indicators spanning many areas of the European economy has naturally motivated investors.”

A gauge of economic confidence in the eurozone rose for an 11th straight month this month to its highest level since July 2011.

In Germany, research company GfK forecast that its consumer-confidence index will remain at a seven-year high next month.

The Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index in the US also rose more than estimated.

Benchmark indexes climbed in 15 of the 18 western-European markets tracked by Bloomberg this week. Germany’s DAX gained 2.6 percent, the UK’s FTSE 100 rose 0.9 percent, and France’s CAC 40 rallied 1.8 percent.

Luxottica jumped 9.6 percent. The world’s largest maker of glasses will design, develop and sell spectacles that use Google Glass technology, according to a statement released on Monday.

Google Glass combines a small screen, camera and audio on a device worn at eye level.

Luxottica owns the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands.

Marine Harvest rallied 8.6 percent. The largest salmon farmer agreed to sell UK farming assets to Cooke Aquaculture Inc, saying the completion will probably increase its potential dividend for the first quarter.

A gauge of food and beverage stocks rallied 4.5 percent, the biggest weekly jump since May 2010 and the most among 19 industry groups.

Heineken NV rose 7.5 percent, its largest weekly advance since September 2012.

Pernod Ricard SA added 5 percent, snapping a four-week losing streak, as Deutsche Bank AG upgraded the distiller to hold from sell.

SABMiller PLC, the world’s second-biggest brewer, jumped 6.8 percent for its best week since November 2012.