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European stocks erased their decline in the final half an hour of trading as RWE AG rallied, leading utility shares higher.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.1 percent to 331.11 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The gauge declined as much as 1 percent today as investors weighed equity valuations after closing yesterday at its highest level since May 2008.
National benchmarks fell in 12 of the 18 western-European market.
FTSE 100 6,766.86 +9.71 +0.14% CAC 40 4,274.2 +10.93 +0.26% DAX 9,540.51 +30.34 +0.32%
RWE jumped 5 percent to 26.81 euros after Germany’s Federal Administrative Court ruled that the forced shutdown of the company’s Biblis nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster was unlawful.
Celesio dropped 5.3 percent to 22.89 euros. McKesson, the largest U.S. drug distributor, said in a statement that its increased offer of 23.50 euros a share failed to pass the threshold needed for the deal to go through. McKesson may now seek a joint venture with the European wholesaler, John H. Hammergren, chairman and chief executive officer, said yesterday at a conference in San Francisco.
Jeronimo Martins, which owns supermarkets in Portugal and Poland, slid 2.8 percent to 13.62 euros. Comparable sales rose 2.5 percent in Poland in the fourth quarter, less than the 4 percent rate for the previous three-month period, according to a statement late yesterday. The Polish business, Biedronka, accounted for 66 percent of total sales in the three months through December. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded the stock to neutral from overweight, meaning that investors should no longer buy the shares.
Ashmore Group Plc slumped 12 percent to 358 pence, its biggest drop since February 2009. The fund manager’s assets under management slipped 4.1 percent to $75.3 billion in the three months that ended Dec. 31, according to a statement.
Volkswagen AG decreased 2.4 percent to 197.80 euros as UBS AG lowered its rating on Europe’s largest carmaker to sell from neutral. The brokerage said the company’s high level of re-investment may cut into earnings growth.
Aeroports de Paris retreated 1.4 percent to 81.64 euros, while Fraport AG declined 0.8 percent to 54.66 euros after Barclays Plc lowered its ratings on the airport operators. The brokerage said AdP’s stock trades near fair value. Barclays added that passenger spending in Frankfurt airport’s shops has fallen below its estimates and the investment needed to build a third terminal may prevent Fraport from increasing its dividend.
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