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European stocks were little changed, heading for a second weekly drop, before next week’s Federal Reserve meeting, with gains in AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) offsetting PSA Peugeot Citroen’s slide. U.S. stock-index futures rose, while Asian shares fell.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.2 percent to 310.87 at 10:54 a.m. in London. The regional benchmark has retreated 1.8 percent so far this week as U.S. economic data fueled speculation the Fed could slow the pace of additional stimulus sooner than forecast.
“The debate about the beginning of the Fed tapering at its Dec. 17-18 meeting hangs over markets like the sword of Damocles,” said Martin Schlatter, a fund manager at Swiss Rock Asset Management AG in Zurich, which oversees about $1 billion. “We don’t expect any actions yet. Therefore we believe the current weakness should be a buying opportunity.”
AstraZeneca Plc gained 2.5 percent to 3,544.5 pence, its highest price since May 28. The benefits of the new diabetes drug outweigh a potential higher risk of bladder cancer and liver toxicity, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration said. The FDA is expected to decide by Jan. 11 whether to approve the treatment, known as dapagliflozin.
ARM Holdings Plc (ARM) climbed 5.5 percent to 1,025 pence. The U.K. chip designer announced the acquisition of Geomerics, a provider of lighting technology for the gaming and entertainment industry, without giving financial details.
Home Retail Group Plc (HOME) gained 2.3 percent to 189.8 pence. Deutsche Bank AG raised the owner of the Argos chain to buy from hold, citing a “more buoyant consumer atmosphere.”
Peugeot (UG) declined 9.8 percent to 9.58 euros. General Motors, the U.S. automaker that acquired a stake in Peugeot last year, is selling its entire 7 percent holding -- 24.8 million shares - - through a private placement to institutional investors. GM is offering the shares to money managers for 10 euros to 10.25 euros apiece, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
Delta Lloyd NV (DL) dropped 1.7 percent to 17.36 euros. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its rating on the biggest Dutch provider of group life insurance to neutral from buy, citing the stock’s rally. The shares have gained 41 percent this year, compared with the Stoxx Insurance 600 Index’s 20 percent increase.
FTSE 100 6,458.14 +12.89 +0.20%
CAC 40 4,084.2 +15.08 +0.37%
DAX 9,043.19 +26.19 +0.29%
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