European stocks posted their biggest weekly gain since October, completing a third consecutive monthly increase, after reports on consumer confidence and the unemployment pointed to a strengthening economy in the region.
European stocks rose, with the benchmark index reaching a five-year high, while Spanish bonds declined on signs of accelerating inflation in the 17-nation bloc. The euro climbed against the yen and the pound advanced while crude oil held declines and gold rallied.
U.K. stocks were little changed, with the FTSE 100 Index heading for its first monthly loss since August, as housebuilders slid after the Bank of England ended incentives that helped stimulate mortgage lending.
Thomas Cook Group Plc snapped two years of operating losses, sending the stock to its biggest gain in six months, after the 172-year-old U.K. tour operator cut jobs, streamlined brands and closed failing retail outlets.
Oil fell and the yen weakened against the dollar while energy-company shares led the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lower after Iran and world powers reached an initial deal on limits to the nation’s nuclear program.
Brent crude led energy prices from gasoline to heating oil lower after Iran and world powers reached an interim accord on the country’s nuclear program that will ease economic sanctions while keeping a cap on oil sales.
Thomas Cook Group Plc and the Co- operative Group Ltd. plan to merge their U.K. travel and foreign-exchange units in a deal that will create a 1,200-store chain and save more than 35 million pounds ($55 million) a year.
Thomas Cook Group Plc, the 172-year- old tour operator that required an emergency loan 18 months ago, plans to raise 1.6 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) to restructure its borrowings as it cuts jobs and closes stores to pare costs.