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European stocks were little changed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index trading near its highest level in 4 1/2 years, as a report showed that U.K. manufacturing output unexpectedly contracted.
The Stoxx 600 added less than 0.1 percent to 295.37 at 4:30 p.m. in London after climbing as much as 0.3 percent and dropping as much as 0.2 percent.
National benchmark indexes advanced in 10 of the 18 western-European markets.
FTSE 100 6,510.62 +6.99 +0.11% CAC 40 3,839.97 +3.70 +0.10% DAX 7,966.12 -18.17 -0.23%
U.K. manufacturing output slipped 1.5 percent in January after increasing a revised 1.5 percent in December, according to a statement from the Office for National Statistics. Economists had predicted the measure would be unchanged. Total industrial production in the European Union’s third-largest economy declined 1.2 percent in January after gaining 1.1 percent in the previous month, separate figures showed. Economists had called for a 0.1 percent increase.
Antofagasta gained 2.9 percent to 1,127 pence after the copper producer controlled by Chile’s Luksic family proposed a dividend of 98.5 cents a share, compared with 44 cents a year earlier. The average analyst estimate had called for a dividend of 58 cents.
SBM Offshore NV surged 21 percent to 12.96 euros, its biggest rally since at least October 1989, after agreeing to pay $470 million to settle a dispute with Talisman Energy Inc. The world’s biggest supplier of floating oil rigs said it will take a provision of $270 million in addition to the $200 million that it set aside in December for its Yme platform in the North Sea.
St. James’s Place lost 3.1 percent to 520 pence. Lloyds sold 102 million shares in the company, leaving the bank with a 37 percent stake. Britain’s biggest mortgage lender said it will make a gain of 400 million pounds ($595 million) from the sale and the revaluation of its remaining holding.
Pirelli retreated 4.2 percent to 8.55 euros after Europe’s third-largest tiremaker forecast earnings before interest and taxes of 810 million euros ($1.1 billion) to 850 million euros in 2013. That compared with the average analyst estimate of 875 million euros.
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