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European stocks were little changed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index heading for a monthly gain, as better-than-estimated earnings offset speculation the Federal Reserve may trim bond purchases sooner than forecast. U.S. index futures and Asian equities dropped.
The Stoxx 600 fell less than 0.1 percent to 320.68 at 9:55 a.m. in London. The gauge has rallied 3.3 percent this month as U.S. lawmakers reached a last-minute deal to end a fiscal impasse
The Federal Open Market Committee yesterday kept its monthly bond purchases at $85 billion and said that while the U.S. economy shows signs of underlying strength, it would wait for more evidence of sustained improvement before slowing stimulus. In a statement released at the end of a two-day meeting, the FOMC dropped its warning from last month that tighter financial conditions could impair recovery. The odds that the Fed would start to reduce bond purchases in January rose to 45 percent from 25 percent before yesterday’s statement, Citigroup Inc. said.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is pushing unprecedented accommodation into the final months of his term to nurture an economic recovery otherwise hampered by budget cuts, tax increases and a 16-day federal shutdown that probably reduced growth by 0.3 percentage point this quarter.
Alcatel-Lucent surged 15 percent to 2.70 euros, its biggest rally in three months. The French network-equipment maker said its third-quarter net loss fell to 200 million euros ($274 million) from a 316 million-euro loss a year earlier. Analysts had predicted a 274 million-euro loss.
BNP Paribas rose 2.3 percent to 53.98 euros after France’s largest bank posted an unexpected increase in earnings as it set aside fewer provisions for bad debts and pared costs. Net income climbed to 1.36 billion euros from 1.33 billion euros a year earlier, beating the 1.19 billion-euro average estimate of six analysts.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV gained 2 percent to 76.07 euros. The world’s biggest brewer said consolidated earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization rose 10.5 percent in the three months through Sept. 30. The median estimate of analysts had called for growth of 5.7 percent.
FTSE 100 6,744.55 -33.15 -0.49%
CAC 40 4,275.6 +1.49 +0.03%
DAX 8,988.57 -21.70 -0.24%
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