Oliver Q
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Europe Stocks Gain First Time in Three Days as UBS Jumps

European stocks rose, snapping a two-day drop, as Novartis AG and UBS (UBSN) AG rallied after posting financial updates and as U.S. consumer confidence surged to a seven-year high.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1 percent to 328.25 at the close of trading as 18 of its 19 industry groups rose. The gauge briefly pared its advance after an earlier report showed U.S. durable-goods orders unexpectedly fell. Novartis added 1.8 percent after reporting third-quarter profit that beat estimates and UBS climbed 5.8 percent as it set aside funds for litigation.

“European markets are higher, driven by a number of positive corporate updates,” Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London, wrote in an e-mail. “The majority of companies have beaten expectations in the third-quarter earnings season to date and, if maintained, this could plot the course of markets for the remainder of the year.”

Federal Reserve officials are holding a two-day policy meeting and are expected to announce tomorrow an end to bond purchases that swelled the central bank’s balance sheet to a record. Minutes from the last meeting, when the Fed pledged to keep interest rates low for a considerable time, revealed officials’ concern that U.S. growth may be at risk from a global slowdown.

New York-based Conference Board said its gauge of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 94.5 in October, the highest reading since the same month in 2007. A separate report showed durable-goods orders in the world’s largest economy fell 1.3 percent in September, missing analysts’ median forecast for a 0.5 percent gain.