European stocks rose the most in more than five months after a report that Russian war planes have finished military exercises near Ukraine.
Balfour Beatty Plc. added 2.5 percent after rejecting a revised merger proposal from Carillion Plc. Banco Popolare SC surged 8.2 percent after the Italian lender unexpectedly posted a profit in the second quarter. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG each rose more than 2 percent, contributing the most to gains by a gauge of auto-related stocks.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rallied 1.4 percent to 329.56 at 4:30 p.m. in London as more than 16 stocks climbed for every one that dropped. All 19 industry groups in the index advanced. The equity benchmark fell 2.1 percent last week amid crises in Iraq, Ukraine and the Gaza Strip.
“We’re seeing a bit of a bounce today after a weak week,” Veronika Pechlaner, who helps oversee $2.3 billion at Ashburton Ltd., said. “With the Russia-Ukraine situation, it’s going to be a step-by-step process, hopefully in the right direction. What you want to see are no further sanctions, certainly no more military action and potentially some news on the inquiry into the plane that came down.”
The Stoxx 600 slid 1.7 percent in July, its worst month since January, as a Malaysian passenger jet crashed in eastern Ukraine. The U.S. said that a missile fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian rebels hit the airplane. European stocks pared a decline on Aug. 8 after the RIA Novosti news service reported that Russia wants to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine by mediating between Kiev and the separatists.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has returned its armed forces to their bases, Interfax reported late on Aug. 8. The report said troops and planes had finished military drills held at the Ashuluk firing range in the Astrakhan region. The S&P 500 rose 1.2 percent on Aug. 8, its biggest rally in five months.
National benchmark indexes advanced in every western European market except Portugal and Iceland. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 1.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 rallied 1.3 percent. Germany’s DAX jumped 2 percent, its biggest gain since April.
Balfour Beatty gained 2.5 percent to 243 pence. The U.K. construction company rejected Carillion’s revised offer, saying a merger between the two could undermine its sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff, a New York-based engineering consultancy. Balfour Beatty had abandoned a previous round of merger talks in late July because Carillion wanted to include the unit in the deal. Carillion rose 1 percent to 324 pence.
Banco Popolare soared 8.2 percent to 10.90 euros after reporting a second-quarter profit of 25 million euros ($33.5 million). Analysts had predicted a loss of 12.8 million euros. The lender said it cut spending on employees and administration.
A gauge of auto-related companies increased 2.4 percent. BMW, the world’s biggest maker of luxury vehicles, added 2.8 percent to 88.03 euros, while Daimler rose 2.4 percent to 60.71 euros. Valeo SA, which makes spare parts, climbed 3.4 percent to 89.54 euros and PSA Peugeot Citroen advanced 2.6 percent to 10.20 euros.
DKSH Holding AG, which advises and helps businesses expand in Asia, rallied 8.3 percent to 69 Swiss francs after posting first-half net income of 91.3 million francs ($101 million). That exceeded the 87.9 million-franc forecast of analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The company’s chief executive officer predicted that its full-year results will beat last year’s as the Thai economy, DKSH’s main market, returns to growth.
Bilfinger SE climbed 4.2 percent to 54.84 euros after the German builder said its cost-cutting measures will have a positive effect on second-half results. Second-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization fell 30 percent to 65 million euros, which still exceeded DZ Bank AG’s forecast. Bilfinger slid 14 percent last week after lowering its profit forecast for the second time in five weeks.
Nobel Biocare Holding AG rose 2.2 percent to 16.25 francs after people familiar with the matter said the company has attracted potential buyers including EQT Partners AB and Danaher Corp. The dental-implant maker and its adviser, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., have invited other bids, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
Drax Group Plc declined 1.8 percent to 639.5 pence after UBS AG lowered its recommendation on the utility to neutral from buy. The brokerage said Drax’s valuation became less attractive when the U.K.’s Court of Appeal ruled last week that one of its power-generating units isn’t eligible for a government contract that pays guaranteed electricity prices for 15 years. The shares trade at 29 times estimated earnings, more than double the five- year average.
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