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European stocks end higher

European stocks end higher

European stocks closed higher Thursday for the ninth time in 10 sessions, as investors piled into technology and energy issues ahead of a key speech on U.S. interest rates.
Well-received profit results from companies such as Royal Ahold also provided support.
The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 index closed 1.1 percent higher at 370.99, led by companies including microchip makers STMicroelectronics and Infineon Technologies, which both rose around 3 percent, as well as energy-sector firms BG Group, up 4.3 percent, and Statoil, which rose 3.2 percent.
Energy stocks more broadly have been helped by data released on Wednesday showing tight U.S. gasoline inventories.
Much of the gains throughout Europe came late in the session, after U.S. stocks reversed early losses as markets awaited a key speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke due for Friday.
Of national European indexes, the French CAC-40 rose 1.3 percent to 5,592.53, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index climbed 1.3 percent to 6,212.00 and the German DAX 30 index gained 1.1 percent to 7,519.94.
Shares in Royal Ahold, the Amsterdam-based owner of U.S. and Dutch supermarkets, increased 6.5 percent as investors eyed a sharp rise in second-quarter net income to euro2.2 billion (US$3 billion), from euro219 million last year and plans to buy back euro1 billion in stock.
Suez shares gained 5.3 percent after reporting a 10 percent rise in first-half operating profit.
Diageo and InBev, two of the region's largest makers of alcoholic beverages, also performed well.
Each company reported forecast-beating profits as growth in emerging markets countered more sluggish conditions in the U.S. and on the Continent. InBev also authorized a new share buyback program for up to euro300 million.
Shares of InBev rose by 3.3 percent, while Diageo gained 2.4 percent.
"Corporate results have been encouraging in terms of profits and outlook statements. They have been a stimulus and people have been buying where they can see value in companies," said Mark Lovett, chief investment officer for UK and European equities at RCM.
Shares in France's Carrefour ended broadly flat after earlier rising as much as 4 percent. The French supermarket giant outlined plans to list the real-estate part of its business in 2008 and to return up to euro4.5 billion to shareholders. It reported a 3.3 percent rise in first-half earnings to euro729 million (US$994.5 million) and trimmed its 2008 sales guidance.
Financial stocks closed higher but lagged the broader market.
Deutsche Bank slipped 0.2 percent and UBS finished with a 0.1 percent rise.
"Nervousness and volatility remains high, particularly around the banks and financials," Lovett said. "Financials and banks have been hit very hard lately as they haven't given the market the level of disclosure they need to be confident."
However, two French banks managed to outperform their peers.
Credit Agricole, France's No. 3 banking group, saw its shares advance 2.3 percent, while smaller bank Natixis rose 7.1 percent.
Both institutions posted earnings that exceeded forecasts, as they also played down exposure to U.S. subprime mortgage woes.
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Sarah Turner is a correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires.


Updated : 2021-08-02 00:29 GMT+08:00