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European stocks ended the day unchanged, after swinging between gains and losses, as Mario Monti became Italy’s new prime minister amid concern the sovereign-debt crisis is hurting the global economy. The European Central Bank was said to buy Italian and Spanish bonds and the Bank of England warned that failure to tackle the debt crisis could affect economic growth.
National benchmark indexes rose in 11 of the 18 western- European markets today. France’s CAC 40 Index added 0.5 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.2 percent and Germany’s DAX Index lost 0.3 percent.
Infineon Technologies AG, Europe’s second-largest semiconductor maker, fell after saying sales will decline in 2012. The company expects sales in fiscal 2012 to decline by a “mid-single digit percentage” compared with 2011 as customers hold off on making orders.
BMW and Daimler, the world’s biggest makers of luxury cars, lost 3.2 percent to 55.71 euros and 0.9 percent to 32.23 euros, respectively. Carmakers posted the worst performance among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 today, losing 1.4 percent.
Vivendi advanced 5.6 percent to 16.34 euros. The owner of the world’s largest video-game and music companies reported third-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates, helped by its Activision Blizzard and GVT divisions.
Michael Page International Plc, the recruiter that operates across 32 countries, climbed 5.8 percent to 385.4 pence. Randstad Holding NV, a provider of temporary employees, rose 4.3 percent to 23.05 euros. Adecco SA, the world’s biggest supplier of temporary workers, jumped 3.2 percent to 38.59 Swiss francs. HSBC raised its recommendation on all three stocks to “overweight” from “neutral.”
Home Retail Group Plc, which owns the Argos catalog stores, sank 7.5 percent to 72.7 pence as Deloitte LLP predicted that this Christmas may be the first in the U.K. with no growth in retail sales since 2008. December retail revenue in the country will be no better than last year’s 36.2 billion pounds ($57 billion), Deloitte said.
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