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EU clears KPN sale of German E-Plus to Telefonica/AFP

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European equities rise on eurozone growth data

European equities rise on eurozone growth data/AFP

European equities rise on eurozone growth data/AFP

LONDON, Feb 14 – European stocks advanced on Friday, boosted by news of recovering economic growth across the eurozone, while dealers shrugged off fresh political turmoil in Italy.

Frankfurt’s benchmark DAX 30 index of leading companies gained 0.72 percent to 9,663.78 points and in Paris the CAC 40 added 0.58 percent to 4,336.94 points.

Milan’s FSTE Mib index rallied 1.47 percent to 20,406.42 points, as the anticipated resignation of Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta sparks reform hopes in the debt-laden eurozone nation, analysts said.

London’s FTSE 100 index added a marginal 0.04 percent to 6,662.09 points in late morning deals, compared with Thursday’s closing values.

However, the British pound rallied to $1.671 the highest since early May 2011 lifted after the Bank of England’s decision earlier this week to overhaul its forward guidance on interest rates and hike its economic growth forecasts.

The European single currency rose to $1.3696 from $1.3678 late in New York on Thursday, as dealers focused on bright data.

The ruble fell to a record low level against the euro.

“Activity continues to recover in the eurozone,” said Brenda Kelly, chief market strategist at trading firm IG.

“While the political shenanigans in Italy are providing a Groundhog Day backdrop to proceedings, investors are choosing to focus on the better than expected GDP numbers.”

The eurozone economy grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, enough of an improvement on 0.1 percent in the previous quarter to suggest that modest recovery remains on track, official data showed.

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Market expectations had been for growth of between 0.2-0.3 percent in gross domestic product (GDP).

In the wider European Union, the economy expanded 0.4 percent, after 0.3 percent in the third quarter, the Eurostat statistics agency added.

Gold rises

Germany showed a gain of 0.4 percent in the October-December period, better than analyst forecasts of 0.3 percent.

The French economy grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter but this was short of official forecasts of 0.4 percent.

In company news, the top gainer in Frankfurt was ThyssenKrupp after the German heavy industry giant stuck to its full year targets despite a first quarter loss.

In reaction, ThyssenKrupp shares rebounded 3.81 percent to 20.45 euros.

In Paris, EDF topped the risers board, gaining 3.55 percent to 28.155 euros as investors continued to digest Thursday’s upbeat annual results.

In London, global miner Anglo American saw its share price climb 0.36 percent to 1,539 pence.

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Anglo revealed on Friday that net losses narrowed to $961 million (702 million euros) last year, compared with a loss after taxation of $1.470 billion in 2012,

However, the group’s performance was weighed down by a vast $1.9-billion impairment charge on the value of assets, soft demand, and strikes in South Africa.

In commodity markets, gold forged a three-month high at $1,310.70 per ounce, boosted by the weak dollar, strong Chinese demand and speculative buying, analysts said.

The precious metal later stood at $1,308.24 an ounce on the London Bullion Market, up from $1,296 late on Thursday.

Markets meanwhile awaited industrial production figures and the University of Michigan confidence survey for the latest readings on the health of the US economy.

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