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European stocks closed little changed as investors watched U.S. lawmakers debate a new budget agreement to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts in the world’s largest economy.
U.S. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met yesterday to discuss averting more than $600 billion of spending cuts and tax increases before a year-end deadline, with no public announcement of progress.
Industrial production in the world’s largest economy increased 1.1 percent in November, after a revised 0.7 percent drop the previous month, the Federal Reserve said today. That beat the median forecast that called for a 0.3 percent gain.
In China, a report showed manufacturing may expand at a faster pace this month. The December preliminary reading was 50.9 for a purchasing managers’ index released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. That compares with the 50.8 median projection. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped the most since October 2009 also on speculation that state-backed institutions were buying shares.
In the euro area, a preliminary report showed that a measure of manufacturing climbed to 46.3 in December, up from 46.2 in the previous month. A composite index that also includes services jumped to 47.3 this month, the highest since March, from 46.5 in November. A reading below 50 means contraction.
FTSE 100 5,921.76 -7.85 -0.13%, CAC 40 3,643.28 +0.15 0.00%, DAX 7,596.47 +14.49 +0.19%
Fiat SpA, which owns 58.5 percent in Chrysler Group LLC, dropped 1.9 percent to 3.63 euros. Il Messaggero reported that Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer held meetings with banks on a possible capital increase to fund its acquisition of the remaining 41.5 percent of Chrysler.
Alcatel-Lucent rallied 7 percent to 91.3 euro cents after saying it will get a $2.1 billion multiyear financing commitment from Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. The deal “provides stabilization and enhances Alcatel-Lucent’s liquidity profile,” the company said.
Akzo Nobel advanced 7.1 percent to 48.70 euros, the biggest jump since September 2011, after PPG Industries agreed to buy its North American decorative-paints business for $1.05 billion.
ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG rallied 1.8 percent to 23.66 euros after Discovery Communications Inc. agreed to buy the German broadcaster’s northern European assets.
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