Europe Stocks Gain Third Day on ECB Stimulus Speculation

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European stocks advanced a third day amid speculation that slower growth will prompt policy makers to accelerate stimulus. U.S. index futures and Asian stocks were little changed.

Vallourec SA (VK) climbed 3.3 percent after UBS AG advised investors to buy the stock. Mota-Engil SGPS SA added 1.2 percent after Portugal’s state-owned holding company was said to recommend Mota-Engil’s bid for EGF.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2 percent to 343.44 at 8:05 a.m in London. The benchmark gauge has rebounded 5.7 percent from a four-month low on Aug. 8, as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled policy makers are ready to increase stimulus to combat low inflation. Data on euro-area producer prices are due at 11 a.m. in Luxembourg, and the ECB meets to discuss monetary policy on Sept. 4.

Central-bank stimulus helped the Stoxx 600 rally 60 percent from its low in September 2011 through yesterday. Since taking over in November of that year, Draghi has pledged to hold borrowing costs low and said in July 2012 he would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. In June, the ECB took its deposit rate negative for the first time and cut its benchmark rate to a record low of 0.15 percent.

Manufacturing Slowdown

A report from the Institute for Supply Management at 10 a.m. in Washington may show U.S manufacturing continued to expand, though at a slower pace, economists predicted. Data yesterday showed that manufacturing growth in China, the U.K., and the euro area slowed, further spurring speculation that central banks will boost stimulus measures.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped less than 0.1 percent today, while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures rose 0.2 percent. U.S. exchanges reopen today after the Labor Day holiday.

Vallourec rose 3.3 percent to 35.43 euros as UBS raised its rating on the stock to buy from neutral. The French producer of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry will benefit from an improvement in the U.S. onshore market, UBS analysts led by Amy Wong wrote in a note. The shares slumped 13 percent this year through yesterday and reached a 21-month low on Aug. 13.

Mota-Engil increased 1.2 percent to 4.75 euros. People with knowledge of the situation said Parpublica backed the builder’s offer for EGF, the waste-management unit of state-owned water utility Aguas de Portugal SGPS SA, in a report submitted to the government last week. Portugal received four bids for EGF.

Air France-KLM advanced 1.4 percent to 8.16 euros. Chief Executive Officer Frederic Gagey told Le Figaro that domestic mid-haul losses will be about 120 million euros this year, or half of what they were in 2012.

 

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