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European stocks were little changed, trading near their highest level since May 2008, before a report on hiring by U.S. companies that may help investors assess the strength of America’s economic recovery. U.S. index futures fluctuated, while Asian shares climbed.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 328.91 at 10:37 a.m. in London after the equity benchmark yesterday climbed to its highest level in five years and seven months. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures decreased 0.1 percent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rallied 1 percent, following a four-day decline.
A report from the ADP Research Institute will probably show that U.S. companies added 200,000 workers in December. They hired a net 215,000 in November, the most in a year. The Labor Department publishes the unemployment rate and hiring figures for last month on Friday.
The Fed releases minutes from its December meeting after the close of European markets today. The central bank said after that meeting it would reduce its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion from January. The bond-buying program has swelled the Fed’s balance sheet to more than $4 trillion.
The International Monetary Fund plans to increase its forecast for world growth, Managing Director Christine Lagarde told reporters in Nairobi yesterday. The organization intends to announce its new forecast in about three weeks, she said. The IMF currently estimates the global economy will expand by 3.6 percent this year.
The European Union’s statistics agency reported that unemployment in the euro area remained at 12.1 percent in November. That matched the median economist forecast. A Bundesbank release at noon in Frankfurt will show that German factory orders climbed 1.5 percent in November.
SAP gained 1.1 percent to 62.17 euros after UBS raised its rating on the German maker of enterprise-resource-planning software to buy from neutral. Analyst Michael Briest increased his 12-month price target by 13 percent to 70 euros, citing the valuation. The shares trade at 16.7 times projected earnings, less than the 19.5 multiple for a gauge of European technology companies, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Sainsbury dropped 1.4 percent to 363.9 pence after earlier climbing as much as 3.9 percent. Chief Financial Officer John Rogers said on a conference call with analysts and investors that same-store sales for the company’s financial year will rose less than 1 percent. That compared with his prediction for growth of 1 percent to 1.5 percent on Nov. 13.
Kion, which first sold shares to the public in June 2013, slipped 1.8 percent to 30.20 euros after Superlift Holding Sarl sold 10.7 million shares in the company for about 315 million euros ($429 million).
FTSE 100 6,728.04 -27.41 -0.41%
CAC 40 4,255.55 -7.13 -0.17%
DAX 9,486.71 -19.49 -0.21%
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