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12.09.2013 17:20

European stock close

European stocks slipped from the highest level in more than five years as the region’s industrial output contracted more than forecast.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 310.66 at 4:32 p.m. in London, having swung between gains and losses at least 25 times. The gauge climbed to the highest level since June 2008 yesterday as U.S. President Barack Obama postponed a decision on military action against Syria. The measure has soared 11 percent in 2013 as central banks around the world maintained their stimulus programs.

Euro-area industrial output contracted more than economists forecast in July as manufacturers struggled to shake off the legacy of a record-long recession. Factory production in the region fell 1.5 percent from June, when it gained 0.6 percent, the European Union’s statistics office said today. That’s more than the 0.3 percent contraction forecast by economists, according to the median of estimates.

Still, international investors are gaining confidence in the European economy and many see the region among the best to invest, according to the latest Global Poll. Forty percent of the responding investors, analysts and traders said the euro-area economy is improving, more than four times the number in May. The European Union offers one of the best investment opportunities for 34 percent of those polled, up from 18 percent in May and the most since that question was first asked in October 2009.

National benchmark indexes declined in 12 of the 18 western European markets today.

FTSE 100 6,588.98 +0.55 +0.01% CAC 40 4,106.63 -12.48 -0.30% DAX 8,494 -1.73 -0.02%

Sanofi slid 2.8 percent to 72.23 euros in Paris. The company withdrew the application for U.S. approval of an experimental drug called lixisenatide in a delay to the company’s effort to bolster sales of diabetes medicines in the world’s biggest pharmaceutical market.

Zealand Pharma A/S, the Danish company that licensed the drug to Sanofi, plunged 15 percent to 66 kroner, the biggest drop in seven months.

Richemont declined 2.6 percent to 91 Swiss francs. The world’s largest jewelry maker said revenue in the Asia-Pacific region, its biggest market, rose 4 percent at constant exchange rates in the five months through August as lower sales in China offset growth in Hong Kong and Macau. That compared with growth of 12 percent for the same period last year. Total revenue rose 9 percent excluding currency shifts, missing the 10 percent median estimate of analysts.

EDF SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, slipped 2.6 percent to 21.66 euros. Norges Bank, the second-largest shareholder, sold 13 million shares at 21.50 euros each, according to three people familiar with the deal.

Vivendi rose 3.1 percent to 17.21 euros. Music, pay-TV, European cinema and Internet in Brazil will make up a new media group based in France after the split with phone unit SFR, according to a statement yesterday.

Home Retail gained 5.8 percent to 173.4 pence, its highest price since June 2011. Same-store sales at its Homebase home-improvement business jumped 11 percent in the 13 weeks ended Aug. 31, more than the 3 percent median of analyst estimates. Sales at its Argos unit rose 2.7 percent, also exceeding

Bouygues SA (EN), the French building, telecommunications and television company, surged 7.2 percent to 26.95 euros, the highest since November 2011. Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded the shares to neutral, similar to a hold recommendation, from underperform.

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