ECONOMY

European stocks rebound from lowest level in almost three weeks

European stocks advanced, rebounding after falling to their lowest level in almost three weeks.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 percent to 332.68 at 8:04 a.m. in London. Stocks erased gains in the final hour of trading yesterday as banks slid, after having risen as much as 0.6 percent amid a recovery in energy shares.

Data today will show consumer prices in the euro area fell for the first time in more than five years last month, according to economist forecasts. That could push the European Central Bank closer to full-scale quantitative easing as it fights to revive inflation.

A separate report on euro-zone unemployment will show the jobless rate was unchanged at 11.5 percent in November, according to economist predictions.

The Stoxx 600 has fallen 5.2 percent from an almost seven- year high last month, amid a slump in oil-and-gas companies and growing concern over Greece as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said this month’s election could lead to the nation exiting the euro area.

U.S. equity-index futures climbed 0.4 percent today, signaling gains after five days of losses, before the release of minutes from December’s Federal Reserve policy meeting. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed.

EasyJet Plc climbed 1 percent. Europe’s second-biggest discount carrier reported a 3.2 percent increase in December passengers.

J Sainsbury Plc rose 3 percent. The U.K.’s third-largest supermarket chain said revenue at stores open at least a year fell 1.7 percent, excluding gasoline, in the 14 weeks ended Jan. 3. Analysts had forecast a 3.2 percent drop.

Persimmon Plc added 0.9 percent. The U.K.’s largest homebuilder by market value said sales rose 17 percent during 2014 and its average home price climbed.

Energy companies in Europe posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600 as oil fell for a fifth day amid speculation data on U.S. supplies today will fuel concern over a global glut.

[Bloomberg]