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European Stocks Rise for Second Day


European stocks rose for a second day as commodities climbed amid continuing speculation the Federal Reserve will take action to bolster the economy. U.S. index futures and Asian shares gained.

UBS AG (UBSN), Switzerland’s biggest bank, advanced 2.6 percent after saying it plans to cut 3,500 jobs to trim costs. Cairn Energy Plc (CNE), the Scottish oil and gas producer, rose 1.6 percent after saying first-half revenue jumped fourfold. Antofagasta Plc (ANTO), the copper producer controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, climbed 3.5 percent after earnings increased.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 1.8 percent to 229.03 at 8:20 a.m. in London after yesterday rebounding from a two-year low. The gauge has still fallen 21 percent from this year’s peak on Feb. 17 as European and U.S. economic data that trailed forecasts added to concern the global recovery is at risk. The retreat has left the Stoxx 600 trading at about 9.5 times its companies’ estimated earnings, near the lowest since March 2009, Bloomberg data show.

“Much of the gains being seen here seem to be coming off the expectation that the Fed will serve up further stimulus measures, possibly as soon as the end of this week,” said Cameron Peacock, a market analyst at IG Markets in Melbourne. “Clearly with this being priced in, failure to deliver here will see traders heading for the exits once again.”

Asian, U.S. Shares

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index surged 1.9 percent today. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures rose 1.7 percent after the benchmark gauge for U.S. equities added less than 0.1 percent yesterday.

The Fed is holding its annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this weekend. This time last year Chairman Ben S. Bernanke hinted that the central bank might embark on a second round of asset purchases, kicking off a 28 percent rally in the S&P 500 that ended in a three-year high on April 29.

Copper, lead, tin, nickel and zinc gained on the London Metal Exchange today as data showed Chinese imports rebounded to the highest level since January. Oil rose 1.8 percent to more than $85 a barrel in New York.

A report today may show investor confidence in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, dropped this month. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research’s index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict developments six months in advance, fell to minus 26 in August from minus 15.1 in July, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Source: Peter Levring (Bloomberg)