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European stocks closed little changed as the European Central Bank and the Bank of England left their benchmark interest rates on hold.
The ECB kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.75 percent, as predicted by 48 of 52 economists in a Bloomberg survey. The central bank is ready to start buying government bonds as soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled, President Mario Draghi said today at a press conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The Bank of England maintained its bond-purchase target at 375 billion pounds ($604 billion) and held interest rates at 0.5 percent, as economists had forecast.
National benchmark indexes declined in 12 of the 18 western European markets. Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 declined 0.1 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was little changed while the Swiss Market Index rose 0.4 percent.
Nobel Biocare retreated 4.3 percent to 9.03 Swiss francs after saying a drop in the Japanese market in the third quarter is “materially impacting” full-year sales and profit. The world’s second-biggest maker of dental implants said annual earnings before interest and taxes will be in the range of 67 million euros to 70 million euros. While Japan represents 13 percent of sales, it contributes “disproportionately high profit,” the company said.
Gerresheimer AG lost 2.3 percent to 39.79 euros. The German producer of pharmaceutical and health-care equipment posted third-quarter adjusted earnings of 62 cents per share, missing the average analyst estimate of 70 cents.
Halfords surged 14 percent to 303.5 pence, the most since the company listed in 2004, after the company said it expects 2013 profit before tax in the upper half of its previously forecast range of 62 million pounds to 70 million pounds. The company also reported second-half same-store sales growth that beat analyst estimates.
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