European stocks climbed for a fourth day as investors continued to weigh whether Federal Reserve policy makers meeting tomorrow will take action to help the economy.
Asian stocks and U.S. index futures rose.
Credit Agricole SA (ACA), France’s second-largest bank by assets, increased 5.9 percent after profit fell less than analysts had estimated. Glencore International Plc rallied 2.1 percent after posting first-half profit that jumped 57 percent. Diageo Plc soared 7.3 percent after reporting increased full-year profit on a so-called organic basis.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.6 percent to 231.08 at 11:38 a.m. in London. The benchmark measure has advanced 3.5 percent from the two-year low it reached on Aug. 19. The gauge has still fallen 21 percent from this year’s peak on Feb. 17 as European and U.S. economic data that trailed economists’ forecasts added to concern the global economic recovery is at risk.
Fed policy makers meet this weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. At last year’s conference, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled a second round of asset purchases, known as QE2, that buoyed asset markets. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 28 percent from Aug. 27, 2010, to this year’s peak on April 29 after Bernanke hinted at the $600 billion Treasury program.
“Policy makers will do what they can to help the market,” said Pierre Mouton, a fund manager at Notz Stucki & Cie. in Geneva, who helps oversee $7.5 billion. “Unless there’s a catastrophe in Europe, there’s not much that can drive stocks too much lower. We have to remain cautious, but the gains this week have made the market more engaging than it was last week.”
Futures on the S&P 500 climbed 0.2 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.6 percent.
A Commerce Department report tomorrow may show that gross domestic product grew at a 1.1 percent annual pace in the April to June quarter, down from the 1.3 percent rate estimated last month, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg survey.
Credit Agricole surged 5.9 percent to 6.58 euros. The bank said second-quarter profit fell 11 percent to 339 million euros ($489 million). Earnings exceeded the 187 million-euro average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Credit Agricole booked a 202 million-euro pretax writedown on Greek sovereign debt.
Glencore increased 2.1 percent to 397.7 pence. The world’s largest listed commodities trader said first-half income before other significant items climbed to $2.45 billion from $1.56 billion a year earlier on higher prices for raw materials.
Diageo, International Power
Diageo surged 7.3 percent to 1,200 pence. The maker of Johnnie Walker scotch and Smirnoff vodka said annual profit rose. So-called organic operating profit, excluding some items and the effects of acquisitions and currency swings, climbed 5 percent in the year through June.
International Power Plc , the U.K. utility controlled by GDF Suez SA, rallied 3 percent to 316.6 pence. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its recommendation on the shares to “overweight” from “neutral.”
Barclays Plc soared 7.7 percent to 161.2 pence. Britain’s second-largest bank by assets doesn’t need to raise additional capital, Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond told CNBC in an interview.
Persimmon Plc added 5.2 percent to 429.8 pence. The U.K.’s third-largest homebuilder by volume was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.
IMI Plc jumped 8.3 percent to 850.5 pence for the biggest gain the Stoxx 600. The company said net income in the first half rose to 100.9 million pounds ($165 million) from 99.3 million pounds, while sales advanced to 1.03 billion pounds. IMI predicted “good progress” for the second half as most customers retain a positive outlook and the order book holds up.
Kazakhmys Plc, the biggest copper producer in Kazakhstan, advanced 7.1 percent to 1,015 pence after announcing a $250 million share buyback plan and approving the Bozshakol mine development.
Danish banks, including Danske Bank A/S, Jyske Bank A/S and Sydbank A/S, increased in Copenhagen trading as Denmark’s lawmakers meet to approve a bank rescue plan today. Danske rose 5.7 percent to 76.35 kroner, Jyske advanced 2.4 percent to 145 kroner and Sydbank gained 4.7 percent to 100.50 kroner.
Greece’s ASE Index slid 0.4 percent as Alpha Bank SA and National Bank of Greece SA dropped 5 percent to 2.09 euros and 2.5 percent to 3.08 euros, respectively.
Greek bonds slumped for an eighth day, pushing the 10-year yield up to a euro-era record, amid concern that Finland’s demands for collateral on loans to the nation jeopardize a second bailout package and may trigger a default.