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Published: Wednesday, 2/29/2012

European index posts best year’s start since ‘98


LONDON -- European stocks are rallying just as much as the rest of the world in the best start to a year since 1998, even as analysts cut earnings forecasts, profits trail estimates by the most on record, and debt-encumbered economies stop growing.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index has climbed 8.3 percent in 2012, bringing the rally since last year’s low to 23 percent as the European Central Bank loans record amounts of cash to banks at below-market rates.

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