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Sun, Aug 23, 2009 - Page 10 News List

STOXX 600 soars after positive sign from Ben Bernanke

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European stocks rose this week, sending the Dow Jones STOXX 600 Index to its highest level since October, after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the world was “beginning to emerge” from a recession and reports signaled an improving economy.

UBS AG rallied 8.8 percent as the Swiss government sold its 6 billion-Swiss franc (US$5.6 billion) investment in the bank. Wienerberger AG, the world’s biggest brickmaker, surged 23 percent after Deutsche Bank AG recommended buying the shares. Holcim Ltd climbed 11 percent as the cement maker raised its savings target for this year.

The STOXX 600 added 2.7 percent to 234.85. Economic data this week showed that sales of existing US homes jumped more than forecast last month to the highest level in almost two years, while investor confidence in Germany climbed more than estimated last. German services and French manufacturing unexpectedly expanded this month, Markit Economics said, citing its purchasing managers’ survey.

“The PMI data for the euro-zone are stunning,” said Matthias Joerss, head of equity strategy at Sal Oppenheim Jr & Cie in Frankfurt. “We should get very decent earnings reports for the third quarter.”

The STOXX 600 has rallied 49 percent since March 9 as companies worldwide reported ­better-than-projected earnings and investors speculated government measures and interest-rate cuts will help to pull the global economy out of recession.

National benchmark indexes rose in all 18 western European markets this week. The UK’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX both climbed 2.9 percent. France’s CAC 40 advanced 3.5 percent.

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