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European stocks were little changed as L’Oreal SA and Nokia Oyj rallied, offsetting worse-than-forecast reports on industrial production in France and Italy.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained less than 0.1 percent to 325.16 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The benchmark climbed 0.8 percent last week, posting its first increase in three weeks, as investors bet the Federal Reserve will delay a third cut to bond purchases after U.S. jobs data missed estimates.
“We’re seeing a return to the status quo, with numbers out of France and Italy showing there’s still a euro zone divided into two speeds,” said John Plassard, vice president at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva. “Without significant macroeconomic data out of the U.S. or any big company earnings, markets are set to be calm.”
Data showed December industrial production fell 0.3 percent in France and 0.9 percent in Italy, both missing estimates.
National benchmark indexes advanced in nine of the 18 western European markets today.
FTSE 100 6,584.71 +13.03 +0.20% CAC 40 4,234.82 +6.64 +0.16% DAX 9,288.46 -13.46 -0.14%
L’Oreal (OR) gained 4.4 percent to 128.95 euros. Nestle has signaled to the L’Oreal management its intention to reduce its stake in the company, people with knowledge of the matter said. While talks have been on and off for some time, preparations have picked up close to April’s expiry of restrictions on Nestle’s stake imposed by a shareholder agreement with the Bettencourt family, the largest shareholder.
Nokia advanced 2.7 percent to 5.38 euros. The company agreed with HTC Corp. collaborate after ending a patent-infringement dispute. HTC will pay royalties to Nokia to end the row, the two partners said without disclosing financial terms.
Fresnillo Plc, a producer of gold and silver, jumped 8.8 percent to 862.5 pence. Gold rose for a fourth day in the longest rally since October, as Chinese buyers returned from a holiday. Separately, data from the China Gold Association showed consumption in world’s second-biggest economy surged 41 percent to a record in 2013.
Telekom Austria AG advanced 3.2 percent to 6.72 euros, its highest price since August 2012. Erste Group Bank AG raised the company part-owned by Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB to hold from reduce, citing a potential for profit-">ArcelorMittal (MT) slid 3.2 percent to 12.09 euros after Bank of America Corp. cut the world’s biggest steelmaker to neutral from buy, citing “tepid European economic growth.
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