Heineken results boost European indices


Eurostoxx 50:3,061.92 (+31.46) Frankfurt DAX:7,414.30 (+14.26) Paris CAC:4,151.26 (+40.92)

EUROPEAN STOCKS rose for a fourth day yesterday, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to a 2½-year high, as earnings from Heineken and Société Générale beat estimates and US housing starts topped forecasts.

The benchmark Stoxx 600 rose 0.4 per cent to 290.72 at the close in London, the highest since August 2008.

The gauge has climbed 5.4 per cent this year amid speculation the economic recovery is accelerating and that policies to support indebted countries using the euro will be successful.

“2011 is going to be a good year for equities,” said Robert Halver, head of research at Baader Bank in Frankfurt. “The big economic framework is very fine and earnings are good. I see no clear end of the rally.”

Official figures released yesterday showed US builders began work on more homes than forecast in January. Housing starts climbed 15 per cent to a 596,000 annual rate, the most this year.

Heineken advanced 3.1 per cent to €38.04 after the brewer reported full-year earnings before interest and taxation, excluding one-time items, of €2.61 billion.

Société Générale surged 4.9 per cent to €51.24, helping a measure of banks to the biggest increase among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.

Sanofi gained 3.5 per cent to €51.55, the largest advance in a month. France’s biggest drugmaker agreed to buy Genzyme for at least $20.1 billion, ending a nine-month pursuit of the US company.

Eiffage rose 6.9 per cent to €40.67 for the best performance in the Stoxx 600 as Exane BNP Paribas upgraded France’s third-largest construction company to “outperform” from “neutral”.

Siemens climbed 2.2 per cent to €96.90, hitting a three-year high.

Clariant plunged 13 per cent to 15.15 Swiss francs, the biggest drop since February 2003.

Deutsche Börse, which is buying NYSE Euronext to create the world’s largest operator of stock and derivatives exchanges, slipped 1.7 per cent to €58.84 after reporting a net loss for the three months ended December 31st of €61.2 million.

Daimler, a maker of luxury vehicles, slid 4.4 per cent to €53.54 after earnings before interest and taxes missed analysts’ estimates. – (Bloomberg)