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European stocks were little changed and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index completed its fourth weekly gain as investors weighed worse-than-estimated earnings from Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp.
The Stoxx 600 added less than 0.1 percent to 299.87. The gauge gained 1.2 percent this week as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank remains flexible on the pace of asset purchases.
A gauge of European technology companies fell 0.7 percent as Google Inc., owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, yesterday reported second-quarter sales and profit that missed analysts’ estimates. Microsoft Corp., the largest software maker, posted fourth-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ forecasts by the biggest margin in at least a decade.
SAP, the biggest maker of business-management software, slid 2.4 percent to 55.69 euros. ARM Holdings, whose chip designs are used in phones that run on Google’s Android operating system, dropped 2.6 percent to 897 pence.
Tieto Oyj (TIE1V) dropped 3.1 percent to 15.01 euros as Finland’s biggest software producer reported second-quarter net income of 7.4 million euros ($9.7 million), less than half the 17.2 million euros estimated by analysts.
European shares briefly erased losses after the People’s Bank of China removed the floor on lending rates, effective tomorrow, giving freedom to banks to set borrowing costs. They were earlier allowed to lend at a maximum discount of 30 percent below the benchmark lending rate. China’s one-year rate has stayed at 6 percent since its last reduction in July 2012.
National benchmark indexes fell or were little changed in 13 of the 18 western European markets.
FTSE 100 6,630.67 -3.69 -0.06% CAC 40 3,925.32 -2.47 -0.06% DAX 8,331.57 -5.52 -0.07%
Royal Vopak NV tumbled 5 percent to 43.51 euros, its biggest drop since March 1, after the biggest chemical-and-oil storage company reduced its forecast for 2013 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to a range of 730 million euros to 780 million euros. It earlier predicted Ebitda to be between 760 million euros and 800 million euros.
Remy Cointreau SA slid 4.7 percent to 78.19 euros after JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered its recommendation on the shares to underweight, a rating similar to sell, from neutral. The brokerage said a sales recovery may take longer than previously expected as the cognac maker yesterday reported a drop in first-quarter revenue. Separately, a shareholder sold as many as 1.06 million shares, or a 2.1 percent stake, in Remy at 78.50 euros to 79.50 euros each.
Scania AB dropped 4.3 percent to 141.60 kronor after the Swedish truckmaker reported second-quarter earnings of 1.72 kronor a share, missing the average analyst forecast of 2.17 kronor.
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