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09.09.2013 17:20

European stock close

European stocks were little changed after their biggest weekly advance since April, as Chinese exports rose more than expected and investors awaited a U.S. decision this week on possible air strikes against Syria.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.1 percent to 305.75 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The gauge advanced 0.5 percent on Sept. 6 as investors assessed whether the Federal Reserve will reduce its monthly bond purchases after data showed the U.S. economy added fewer jobs last month than expected.

China’s exports increased more in August than forecast and inflation stayed below a government target. Overseas shipments rose 7.2 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said in Beijing yesterday. That beat the 5.5 percent median estimate of analysts. Consumer prices rose 2.6 percent, the statistics bureau said today.

Obama this week will seek to persuade a skeptical Congress and a reluctant American public to support air strikes against Syria. He failed to win backing from foreign leaders at last week’s Group of 20 summit for military action in response to a chemical weapons attack that his administration said killed more than 1,400 people.

National benchmark indexes fell in 11 of the 18 western European markets today.

FTSE 100 6,530.74 -16.59 -0.25% CAC 40 4,040.33 -8.86 -0.22% DAX 8,276.32 +0.65 +0.01%

BG (BG/) fell 5.6 percent to 1,210.5 pence, its biggest drop since October 2012. Turmoil in Egypt has delayed the West Delta Deep Marine project and first production from the Knarr project in Norway has been pushed back four months to the second half of next year. The combined impact will shave 30,000 barrels a day off next year’s production. BG will also operate fewer rigs in the U.S., reducing next year’s volumes by 17,000 barrels a day, the Reading-based company said.

EON SE and RWE AG, Germany’s two biggest utilities, fell 1.9 percent to 12.46 euros and 1.8 percent to 22.85 euros, respectively. Bank of America Corp. downgraded EON’s shares to underperform, similar to a sell rating, from neutral, citing “misplaced optimism” and the likelihood of lower power prices.

HSBC Holdings Plc cut its projected price targets on EON and RWE’s shares to 10 euros and 18 euros, respectively, saying the harsh trading environment will continue.

Munich Re jumped 3.3 percent to 139.45 euros. Bank of America upgraded the world’s biggest reinsurer from neutral to buy, citing the recent overdone share-price weakness, its strong capital position and lower exposure to catastrophe reinsurance relative with its peers. Shares have lost 12 percent since reaching their highest price in more than 10 years on April 25.

Vallourec rose 3.4 percent to 47.70 euros after Kepler Cheuvreux upgraded the shares to buy from hold, citing significant price hikes by its U.S. competitors.

Christian Dior SA (CDI) advanced 3.2 percent to 136.35 euros as the French luxury goods maker announced that it has entered into a forward purchase agreement with an authorized financial intermediary to buy a maximum 550,000 of its own shares.

Market Focus

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  • German private sector output growth slowed for the second month running in July
  • ECB's Mersch says as conditions normalise, it is unlikely that uncoventional policies will remain necessary
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