After fluctuating between gains and losses, European stocks advanced on Friday to cap their biggest four-day rally in more than two years.
The STOXX Europe 600 Index added 0.4 percent to 340.3 at the close of trading, after earlier rising as much as 0.8 percent and falling 0.6 percent. The measure posted its fifth weekly advance in six.
Energy stocks contributed the most to gains, while a drop in healthcare companies was the biggest drag as Roche Holding AG slid.
European shares jumped the most since November 2011 on Friday, rebounding for a third day after the US Federal Reserve pledged to be patient in increasing interest rates and the Swiss National Bank introduced its first negative deposit rate since the 1970s. The STOXX 600 has advanced 3 percent this week, recovering more than half of its monthly losses.
“Low interest rate policy-addicted markets are being comforted and there is no other option for cash other than to participate by owning stocks it seems,” Daniel Weston, chief investment officer at Aimed Capital GmbH in Munich, Germany, wrote in an e-mail.
Shares were volatile on Friday. Some futures and options on stocks and indices expired in a process known as quadruple witching. That often increases volatility and trading volume. The number of STOXX 600 shares changing hands was 40 percent greater than the average for the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Miners and energy producers rose for a fourth day. BHP Billiton Ltd added 3.6 percent and Rio Tinto Group gained 2.1 percent, while Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP PLC climbed more than 2.5 percent. Oil and gas companies posted their biggest weekly jump in three years.
Atos advanced 6.2 percent after agreeing to buy Xerox Corp’s information technology outsourcing business for US$1.05 billion, almost tripling the French computer services provider’s business in the US.
Roche slid 6.3 percent. The drugmaker reported disappointing results from a clinical trial that combined two of its newer breast-cancer drugs, denting hopes of broadening the market for treatments that are already among its fastest-growing products. MorphoSys AG sank 11 percent after Roche ended a drug trial for Alzheimer’s disease.
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