Energy stocks led the gains in a European market boosted by healthy third-quarter earnings figures.
Forecast-beating results from BP and BG Group gave oil and gas stocks a shot in the arm across the wider region. In Amsterdam, Royal Dutch Shell gained 1.7 per cent to €24.01, while Lisbon-listed Galp Energia gained 2.6 per cent to €14.26.
“The results from BP and BG Group forced investors out of their shells a bit when otherwise they would have sat on the sidelines waiting for the move from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday night,” said Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index.
Spanish energy group Repsol gained 2.3 per cent to €20.19, while Statoil, the Norwegian oil and gas group, was up 0.8 per cent to NKr129.40.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 rose 0.5 per cent to 1,093.95, a six-month high, helped along by London-listed miners rising on the back of firmer commodity prices.
The European car sector was hit by disappointing October sales figures from France and Italy. In France, Renault fell 1.7 per cent to €39.01, Peugeot 1.4 per cent to €28.35 and Milan-listed Fiat 1.7 per cent to €11.85.
German carmakers were relatively unaffected, with Volkswagen up 0.7 per cent to €105.80 and Daimler, the world’s largest truckmaker, up 1.6 per cent to €48.41.
The Xetra Dax gained 0.8 per cent to 6,654.31, a two-year high, while the CAC 40 gained 0.6 per cent to 3,865.72.
The session was mixed for the banking sector. Spanish banks were down in morning trading, still worried by how European regulators would deal with future bail-outs, but they rallied in the afternoon with an eye towards the Fed’s decision on quantitative easing.
Santander of Spain rose 0.6 per cent to €9.01 while BK Popular was up 1.7 per cent to €4.57. Spain’s second-biggest listed bank, BBVA, gained 1.1 per cent to €9.21 after announcing it had completed talks to buy a 20.8 per cent stake in Turkey’s Garanti Bank.
French bank Société Générale was down 1.2 per cent to €42.10 while investment bank Natixis was 0.3 per cent lower to €4.36.
Other banks to gain in the session were Denmark’s Danske Bank, which rose 5 per cent to DKr148 after reporting strong third-quarter profit results, and Crédit Agricole, which was up 1.9 per cent to €11.97.
In the building materials sector, Frankfurt-listed HeidelbergCement fell 1 per cent to €36.55 after RBS lowered its price target on the stock to €35.30 from €39.60.
The downgrade news weighed on related stocks, with France’s Lafarge, the world’s largest cement producer, falling 0.2 per cent to €41.46 and CRH, the Irish building material group, losing 1.4 per cent to €12.65.
Skanska, the Nordics’ largest building company, fell 1.7 per cent to SKr125.50 after a US tunnel order worth $47m was cancelled and Handelsbanken cut its recommendation on the shares to “reduce” from “accumulate”.
Paris-listed luxury goods maker LVMH was up 1.2 per cent to €114.70 after Nomura raised its price target on the stock to €113 from €107. This boosted the sector, with Italian designer glasses group Luxottica up 0.4 per cent to €21.15 and Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group up 2.1 per cent to SFr388.
Hermès, the fashion and leather goods group, had another volatile day of trading, up 6.4 per cent to €154.20. The French company has regularly seen 5-10 per cent swings in both directions since rival LVMH purchased 17 per cent of the stock early last week.
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