European stocks advance amid speculations of Fed delaying stimulus

europeanstockEuropean stocks advanced, extending a five-year high for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, amid investors speculation that the Federal Reserve will delay stimulus reductions until March. U.S. futures and Asian shares also rose.

The Stoxx 600 advanced 0.1% to 318.67 at 8:07 a.m. in London, as three shares gained for every two that fell. The benchmark index rose 2.2% last week as U.S. lawmakers agreed to extend the government’s borrowing authority until early 2014 and ended the first partial government shutdown in 17 years. The UKs FTSE 100 benchmark index added 0.2% in morning trading while German DAX is slightly lagging but close to zero change.

The Fed will postpone a cut to its monthly stimulus program until March after the government shutdown erased fourth-quarter economic growth by 0.3% point and disrupted the flow of data according to analysts predictions.

A report at 10 a.m. in Washington which shows sales of existing homes is due to be released in the U.S. later today, while tomorrow U.S. payrolls may show 180,000 increase in September, after gaining 169,000 a month earlier, according to economists estimations.

In corporate news, the healthcare, lighting and consumer appliances group Philips reported a near tripling in its third-quarter net profit on Monday, thanks to improvements across the group after two years of rationalization. Philips climbed 5.1% to 25.66 euros. Company also said its 1.5 billion-euro share buyback, announced last month, would start on Monday.

“We remain committed to reaching our financial targets this year. However, ongoing headwinds in the global economy are expected to continue to affect sales growth in the coming quarters,” Chief Executive Frans van Houten said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

SAP surged 4.3% to 55.79 euros after saying third-quarter operating profit adjusted for some items rose to 1.3 billion euros as revenue from the Hana database product surged 79%. The world’s largest maker of business-management software reiterated a July forecast for double-digit percentage growth for software-related services sales this year, excluding currency swings.

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