European stocks closed little changed, after the biggest weekly selloff this year, as a rebound in automakers and mining companies offset an unexpected drop in U.S. housing data.
A U.S. Commerce Department report today showed purchases of new houses unexpectedly fell in February for a second month. Sales dropped 1.6 percent to a 313,000 annual pace, the slowest since October, compared to 318,000 in January.
National benchmark indexes rose in 13 of 18 western- European markets. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX both rose 0.2 percent.
Renault rallied 2.5 percent to 40.30 euros today, leading a gauge of companies in the auto industry 1.4 percent higher. PSA Peugeot Citroen SA increased 2.3 percent to 12.89 euros and Volkswagen SA increased 1.7 percent to 132.35 euros.
Mining companies also advanced as copper rebounded in London. Antofagasta rallied 2.7 percent to 1,172 pence, the first increase in four days. Kazakhmys Plc advanced 2.5 percent to 935.5 pence and Rio Tinto Group gained 1.5 percent to 3,382.5 pence.
Elsewhere, CGGVeritas, the world’s largest seismic surveyor of oil fields, climbed 4.7 percent to 22.70 euros after JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its recommendation for the shares to neutral from underweight.
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