European Stocks Climb Before ECB as Metals, Aussie Gain

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European stocks gained as investors weighed profit reports before a European Central Bank monetary-policy decision. Asian shares rose with Australia’s dollar and nickel jumped after China reported a surprise trade increase.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 percent by 8:11 a.m. in London as Repsol SA and BT Group Plc beat analysts’ profit projections. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.5 percent after sliding the most since March 28 yesterday. A measure of Chinese shares (HSCEI) in Hong Kong climbed 0.7 percent while a gauge of Asia-Pacific credit-default swap prices fell the most since April 21. The so-called Aussie advanced 0.6 percent after better-than-estimated jobs data. Nickel jumped with palladium.

The European Central Bank will hold rates today, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said U.S. rates will be kept near zero for a “considerable time” after it ends its bond-buying program. Russia’s president called on separatists in Ukraine to delay a planned referendum and said troops had been withdrawn from Ukraine’s border. China’s trade surplus was bigger than economists projected as exports unexpectedly climbed in April.

“The very carefully directed speech by Janet Yellen has put markets in a more cautiously optimistic tone, and de-escalating tension in Ukraine is definitely helping as well,” said Desmond Chua, a strategist at CMC Markets in Singapore. “The sharp selloff in more recent sessions is starting to see some form of a respite.”

Europe Earnings

Repsol increased 1.6 percent. Adjusted net income climbed 1.5 percent to 532 million euros ($740 million) from a year earlier, Spain’s largest oil producer said today in a statement. That beat the 448 million-euro estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

BT Group Plc climbed 3.9 percent after it beat analysts’ earnings estimates for the sixth consecutive quarter as the biggest U.K. broadband provider lured new Web customers with the promise of free soccer and rugby games. Barclays Plc jumped 3.6 percent after saying it will cut 7,000 jobs.

Vallourec SA, a French producer of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry, added 3 percent after reporting first-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Italian tiremaker Pirelli & C. SpA and Orkla ASA, a maker of consumer goods, might move after profits fell short of projections. Deutsche Telekom AG slipped 1.3 percent after saying quarterly earnings fell.

About five stocks climbed for every three that fell on the Asia-Pacific gauge today, with nine of 10 industries advancing. The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.2 percent in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index is headed for its first gain in three days. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 percent.

China Trade

China’s overseas shipments increased 0.9 percent from a year earlier, when figures were inflated by fraudulent invoicing, data from the Beijing-based customs administration showed today. That compared with the median estimate for a 3 percent drop in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Imports gained 0.8 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $18.46 billion.

“The good export data are a combined result of yuan’s deprecation and government’s efforts to boost trade amid weak domestic demand,” said Wu Kan, a fund manager at Shanghai-based Dragon Life Insurance Co., which oversees about $3.3 billion. “The data will excite the market in the short term as the economy has signs of a recovery. It looks like the second-quarter data will be better than the previous one.”

Vietnam Clash

Vietnam’s VN Index (VNINDEX) fell 6 percent, the biggest retreat since October 2001, after the government said yesterday that Chinese boats intentionally rammed Vietnamese vessels during a confrontation over the placement of an exploration rig by China in waters near the Paracel Islands, claimed by both countries.

A measure of consumer-discretionary companies was the only group to fall on the MSCI Asia Pacific today, as casino stocks retreated amid reports that China is cracking down on methods used by citizens to channel funds to city. Sands China Ltd. fell 5.5 percent while Wynn Macau Ltd. and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. dropped more than 8.5 percent.

Aussie Jobs

Australia’s dollar climbed to 93.82 U.S. cents, after weakening 0.3 percent in the last session. The country’s jobless rate held at 5.8 percent. It was projected to rise to 5.9 percent for April, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg before today’s data.

Russia’s ruble slipped 0.3 percent to 35.0375 per dollar and 0.3 percent to 48.7782 a euro. The Micex Index in Moscow climbed 0.7 percent, headed for a third straight increase.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’s pulled back troops from the border with Ukraine, even as the U.S. said there was no sign of withdrawal. Putin called on separatists in the former Soviet republic’s east to postpone a vote on autonomy after weeks of tension and violence in the region. Russia is the fifth-biggest producer of wheat, followed by Ukraine, and is the world’s biggest producer of palladium.

Nickel, Palladium

Nickel surged 3.9 percent to $19,356 a ton in London, the highest since March 2012. Copper added 0.4 percent while zinc and lead rose at least 0.6 percent.

Palladium advanced 1 percent after tumbling 2.7 percent yesterday. The metal for immediate delivery rose to $820.90 an ounce on May 6, the highest since August 2011, and was at $803.64 today, according to Bloomberg generic pricing.

Thailand’s baht weakened 0.3 percent to 32.46 a dollar. Financial markets were largely unmoved yesterday when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed by the Southeast Asian nation’s constitutional court.

Thai assets will probably fall given the “political vacuum” created by her ouster, Phillip Blackwood, who oversees $3.2 billion of emerging-market assets at EM Quest Capital LLP, said by e-mail. “This is a clear short in my book,” said Blackwood, who added that he is buying Thai credit-default swaps and selling the baht.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil was little changed at $100.86 a barrel, after jumping the most in a month during the last session. Oil supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma — the delivery point for WTI — dropped to the lowest level in more than five years, declining by 1.4 million barrels to 24 million last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Nationwide stockpiles unexpectedly slid by 1.78 million barrels while total fuel demand climbed.

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