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European stocks declined, paring an 11th straight month of gains, as a report showed business activity in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank this month.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 percent to 296.72 at the close of trading, after earlier climbing as much as 0.5 percent. The gauge has still risen 1 percent in April, completing the longest stretch of monthly gains since 1997 amid speculation central banks will add to stimulus efforts. The measure has climbed 6.1 percent this year.
Business activity in the U.S. shrank in April for the first time in more than three years. The MNI Chicago Report's business barometer fell to 49, the lowest since September 2009, from 52.4 last month. A reading less than 50 signals contraction. The median forecast of economists was 52.5.
The U.S. Federal Reserve began a two-day policy meeting today. Policy makers may shift discussion away from when to reduce monetary stimulus, given data showing the economy is weakening.
A report today showed the euro-area jobless rate rose to a record 12.1 percent in March.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 13 of the 18 western European markets today, including Sweden, which closed early for a public holiday.
FTSE 100 6,430.12 -27.90 -0.43% CAC 40 3,856.75 -11.93 -0.31% DAX 7,913.71 +40.21 +0.51%
Lonmin retreated 5.7 percent to 269 pence, the biggest drop in two weeks. The world's third-largest platinum producer suspended production at its Number Two furnace at Marikana in northwestern South Africa following an unspecified incident.
Fiat Industrial sank 5.3 percent to 8.57 euros, the most since May 23 last year. The truck and tractor maker cut earnings and sales targets for 2013 as a recession in Europe led to a first-quarter loss at its Iveco vehicle unit.
UBS rallied 5.7 percent to 16.60 Swiss francs as Switzerland's largest bank reported first-quarter net income of 988 million francs ($1.06 billion) because of higher revenue at the investment bank and the wealth-management business. That beat the 412.3 million-franc average estimate.
Deutsche Bank surged 6.1 percent to 34.91 euros. The bank announced plans to raise capital even after co-Chief Executive Officer Anshu Jain said a share sale wasn't in investors' interests three months ago. It also said first-quarter net income rose to 1.65 billion euros, exceeding the 1.21 billion- euro average estimate.
BP Plc increased 2.1 percent to 466.4 pence, its largest gain in three months. Europe's second-largest oil company reported earnings, adjusted for one-time items and inventory changes, of $4.2 billion pounds, beating the average estimate of $3.2 billion from analysts survey.
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