Barclays rallied 62 percent after saying record revenue” will cover writedowns. ING Groep NV climbed 22 percent on plans to slash costs by 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in 2009. Royal Philips Electronics NV rose 5.4 percent after maintaining its dividend. Wyeth jumped 6.9 percent in Germany after Pfizer Inc. agreed to pay about $68 billion for the company in the largest pharmaceutical acquisition in almost five years.
Stocks in Europe and U.S. index futures pared gains after Caterpillar Inc. reduced its 2009 profit forecast. The world’s biggest maker of bulldozers and excavators slid 6.3 percent in early New York trading.
The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.7 percent to 183.67 at 12:37 p.m. in London, rebounding from a two-month low. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in March rose 0.1 percent. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average Index fell 0.8 percent as Komatsu Ltd. tumbled.
The Stoxx 600 has slumped 49 percent since the beginning of last year as financial firms racked up more than $1 trillion in credit losses and writedowns and the U.S., Japan and Europe entered the first simultaneous recessions since World War II.
National benchmark indexes climbed in all 18 western European markets today. Germany’s DAX increased 1 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 1.2 percent. France’s CAC 40 added 1.1 percent as BNP Paribas SA rallied.
Japanese stocks dropped, sending the Topix index to a three-month low, as earnings concern dragged down real estate and machinery companies. Shares in Thailand and the Philippines gained on higher commodities prices. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 63.11, or 0.8 percent, to close at 7,682.14 in Tokyo after swinging between gains and losses 10 times.