Milan, January 17 - Markets advanced across Europe on Thursday, paced by Milan's FTSE MIB index, as stocks gained on positive data on the US housing market. The FTSE MIB gained 1.4% to 17,587 points. The US construction sector built more houses than had been predicted in December, making 2012 the best year for local builders since 2008, according to Commerce Department data released on Thursday. New housing starts increased 12.1% in December to a 954,000 annual rate, the biggest increase since June 2008, said today. Other positive news to emerge from the world's largest economy includes the Federal Reserve's Beige Book business survey released late on Wednesday, which pointed to a pickup in the US generated by car and home sales. The yield spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the German benchmark debt, a barometer of Italy's borrowing costs in the eurozone crisis, closed at 258 points with 10-year yields at 4.2%. The Frankfurt Dax bourse advanced 0.6% to 7,735 points, while the Paris Cac 40 Index jumped 1% to 3,744 points. London's Ftse-100 stock market advanced 0.5% to 6,132 points.
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di Giovanni Pastore