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24.08.2012 17:30

European stocks close:

European stocks were little changed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index posting its first weekly drop since June, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece must stick to its commitments to stay in the euro area, and a news report said the European Central Bank is considering setting yield band targets.

A gauge of mining companies was among the main losers, with Rio Tinto Group slumping 1.6 percent and BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) sliding 1.4 percent. NKT Holding (NKT) A/S tumbled 9 percent after the maker of cables and industrial vacuum cleaners reported second- quarter sales that missed estimates. Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) rallied 4.2 percent.

The Stoxx 600 added 0.1 percent to 268.0 in London after earlier falling as much as 0.6 percent. European stocks posted a 1.8 percent drop this week, snapping 11 weeks of gains.

Stocks rebounded in the last half hour of trading after Reuters reported the ECB is considering setting yield band targets under a new bond-buying program. Reuters cited unnamed central bank people.

In the U.S., Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said there’s “scope for further action” by the central back to spur economic growth.

National benchmark indexes fell in nine of the 18 western European markets.

FTSE 100 5,776.6 0.00 0.00% CAC 40 3,433.21 +0.65 +0.02% DAX 6,971.07 +21.50 +0.31%

Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton retreated 1.6 percent to 2,910 pence and 1.4 percent to 1,933 pence, respectively. Anglo American Plc (AAL) dropped 2.9 percent to 1,885 pence.

Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) decreased 3.6 percent to 338.9 pence after ING Groep NV said the producer of metals in Kazakhstan may need to consider selling some assets or raise capital via new equity, citing its rapidly escalating debt burden as a key concern.

NKT Holding tumbled 9 percent to 191.10 kroner after the maker of cables and industrial vacuum cleaners reported second- quarter sales of 3.9 billion kroner ($667 million), missing analysts’ estimates of 4.15 billion kroner. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were 229 million kroner, below the 300 million-kroner analyst projection.

Ashmore Group Plc retreated 4.3 percent to 331.5 pence after Haley Tam, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. cut the U.K. fund manager to sell from neutral.

Nokia jumped 4.2 percent to 2.49 euros, for an eighth consecutive day of gains.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s biggest brewer, rose 1.9 percent to 65.40 euros, following a gauge of European (SXXP) food and beverage shares higher. Chief Strategy Officer Jo Van Biesbroeck bought 200,000 shares for 13.1 million euros on Aug. 17, according to regulatory filings.

Danone (BN) SA, the world’s largest yogurt maker, gained 1.4 percent to 51.01 euros, while Marine Harvest ASA (MHG), the world’s biggest salmon farmer, climbed 3.9 percent to 4.51 kroner as investors bought the stock in anticipation of increased fish prices.

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