European stocks extended a seven-year high amid optimism Greece will reach a deal with euro-area creditors.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 percent to 381.41 at the close of trading. It climbed as much as 0.4 percent intraday after the European Commission said Greece’s request for an extension of loan facilities could pave the way for compromise. It then traded little changed as Germany rejected the plan. Euro Stoxx 50 Index futures expiring in March advanced 0.5 percent as a German official said his government regards Greece’s proposal as a basis for negotiations.
“Markets are reacting to any news coming out of Greece within a relatively small range,” said Michael Woischneck, who helps manage about $7.1 billion at Lampe Asset Management in Dusseldorf, Germany. “It’s likely that all sides have the best intentions to reach an agreement, but they are not finding enough common ground quite yet.”
The Stoxx 600 has surged 11 percent this year, even as volatility has increased after Greece elected a new government that is now renegotiating the terms of its aid package. The VStoxx Index, which tracks expectations for equity swings, has had a daily average of 25.4 in 2015. That’s 40 percent greater than in 2014.
The Greek ASE Index climbed 1.1 percent, having earlier lost as much as 1.4 percent and advanced as much as 4.3 percent.
Among stocks moving on corporate news, Rexam Plc rallied 5.4 percent as Ball Corp. offered to buy its rival beverage-can maker for 628 pence a share. The London-based company also reported 2014 pretax profit that beat analysts’ projections.
Randstad Holding NV jumped 7.3 percent after saying organic sales growth accelerated in January. Cap Gemini SA gained 4.9 percent after posting full-year net income that exceeded analysts’ projections. Rheinmetall AG advanced 7.9 percent after saying 2014 profit exceeded its forecast because of record earnings at the auto-component business.
Centrica Plc tumbled 8.5 percent after cutting its dividend as it swung to a loss. Air France-KLM Group slipped 5 percent after saying profit fell last year.