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European stocks were little changed, after the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose to its highest level since June 2008.
The Stoxx 600 added less than 0.1 percent to 303.85 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The benchmark gauge advanced yesterday amid better-than-estimated corporate earnings and has gained 8.7 percent so far in 2013, its best start to a year since 2006. Markets in Switzerland, the Nordic countries and Austria are closed today for Ascension Day. Most businesses closed today in Germany for the holiday.
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee left the target for bond purchases at 375 billion pounds ($583 billion). The bank also kept its key interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent.
U.K. industrial production rose more than economists forecast in March as cold weather boosted demand for electricity and gas. Output increased 0.7 percent from February, when it gained 0.9 percent, the Office for National Statistics said in London. The median forecast of economists was for a 0.2 percent advance.
National benchmark indexes fell in five of the 10 western-European markets open today.
FTSE 100 6,592.74 +9.26 +0.14% CAC 40 3,928.58 -27.70 -0.70% DAX 8,262.55 +12.84 +0.16%
Snam lost 5 percent to 3.65 euros. Eni SpA, Italy's largest oil company, sold a $1.9 billion stake in Snam, according to a statement. About 395 million shares, or 11.7 percent of the company were sold at a price of 3.69 euros a share.
Wm Morrison fell 2.5 percent to 289 pence, for its biggest decline since February 2012. The smallest of the U.K.'s four main supermarket chains said sales at stores open at least a year dropped 1.8 percent in the 13 weeks ended May 5. The figure excluded gasoline and value-added tax.
Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl retreated 8.9 percent to 46.75 euro cents. Chairman Andrea Bonomi has abandoned plans to convert Italy's oldest cooperative bank into a joint-stock company, Il Sole 24 Ore reported without citing anyone.
British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc tumbled 6.1 percent to 809.5 pence, for its biggest decrease since July 2011. BT Group Plc said it will sell its sports package to pubs at an 80 percent discount to Sky's prices.
Experian advanced 6.2 percent to 1,245 pence, the highest price since it sold shares to the public in 2006. The company posted full-year adjusted earnings of 85.7 cents a share, beating analyst estimates for 83.6 cents. Experian (EXPN) increased its dividend to 24 cents and said it will buy back $500 million of shares over the next 12 months.
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