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Europe: Stocks extend weekly advance as HSBC, miners climb


[FRANKFURT] European stocks rebounded, extending weekly gains, as HSBC Holdings Plc led banks higher and companies including Renault SA rose on sales and earnings releases.

HSBC climbed 2.9 per cent after saying that it has started a review into moving its headquarters from the UK Renault added 3.7 per cent after reporting quarterly sales rose 14 per cent. Glencore Plc, BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Group led commodity producers to the biggest gain of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index as iron ore advanced into a bull market. AstraZeneca Plc declined 1.7 per cent after posting lower first-quarter earnings.

The Stoxx 600 rose 0.3 per cent to 408.42 at the close of trading, for a weekly gain of 1.2 per cent. Shares advanced as much as 0.7 per cent earlier after a gauge of German business confidence jumped to a 10-month high in April, beating forecasts. Stocks fell Thursday as data showed euro-area output grew at a slower pace in April, and technology shares slid.

"The market is just making up the losses during the week," said Christian Zogg, who manages the equivalent of about US$10 billion at LLB Asset Management AG in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. "Yesterday, the market was a bit disappointed by the various PMIs, but on the other hand, the result season looks quite OK."

The equity benchmark index has surged 19 per cent in 2015, and last reached a record on April 15.

Greece Talks Greece's ASE Index gained 3.4 per cent, posting its biggest weekly advance in more than two months, even as Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone finance chiefs' group, ruled out making a partial aid payment to the nation in exchange for a narrower program of reforms.

At a stormy meeting in Riga, Latvia, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was heavily criticized by his euro-area colleagues over his failure to deliver economic reforms.

"Nobody really expects a lot today and in the longer term, the impact from Greece for European stocks is not so relevant," said Mr Zogg.

European shares briefly pared gains as Commerce Department data showed that orders for business equipment in the US unexpectedly fell in March for a seventh consecutive month. Demand for all durable goods - items meant to last at least three years - rose a more-than-estimated 4 per cent.

Among stocks also moving on corporate news, Suez Environnement Co climbed 4.1 per cent after the water company reported a 16 per cent increase in quarterly earnings.

Electrolux AB jumped 9.3 per cent after Europe's biggest maker of home appliances posted better-than-estimated profit.

Royal KPN NV advanced 5.2 per cent as Goldman Sachs Group Inc recommended investors buy the shares, saying the Dutch company remains an attractive takeover target.

Pearson Plc slipped 3 per cent after the publisher of the Financial Times said first-quarter sales excluding currency swings declined.


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