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20.01.2014 17:11

European stocks close

European stocks were little changed, after a two-week rally pushed the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to a six-year high, as a decline in bank shares offset a rally in luxury-goods companies. China’s economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter as gains in factory output and investment spending eased last month, data showed today. Gross domestic product rose 7.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with 7.8 percent in the third quarter. Industrial production increased 9.7 percent in December from a year earlier, slower than the 9.8 percent median forecast of analysts and a 10 percent jump in November.

National benchmark gauges fell in 11 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 added less than 0.1 percent. Germany’s DAX slid 0.4 percent. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.2 percent.

Deutsche Bank fell 5.5 percent to 37.19 euros. The lender posted a pretax loss of 1.15 billion euros in the fourth quarter because of 528 million euros in litigation-related expenses, costs tied to its reorganization and charges to adjust credit, debt and funding valuations. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey had called for a 628.5 million-euro pretax profit. The bank announced results 10 days ahead of schedule.

Banks, insurance companies and financial-services providers posted the biggest losses among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Commerzbank AG declined 4.5 percent to 12.93 euros, while Credit Suisse Group AG retreated 2.5 percent to 29 Swiss francs. ICAP Plc, the inter-dealer broker, slid 4.5 percent to 432 pence.

Peugeot dropped 11 percent to 10.23 euros. The board approved a capital-increase plan that includes China’s Dongfeng Motor Corp. and the French state each investing at least 750 million euros, according to a person familiar with the matter. The automaker would also make a rights offering of about 1.4 billion euros.

Lanxess AG retreated 3.1 percent to 48.21 euros. Nomura Holdings Inc cut its rating on the specialty-chemicals maker to reduce from neutral. The brokerage cited Lanxess’s pricing power as the main risk.

Air France-KLM Group declined 4.7 percent to 8.86 euros. UBS AG downgraded Europe’s biggest airline to neutral from buy, citing the recent rally in the shares. Air France rallied 23 percent (AF) from the start of the year through Jan. 17.

Luxottica climbed 4 percent to 38.89 euros after Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the company to buy from hold. Hermes International SCA rose 1.2 percent to 247 euros after the brokerage upgraded the company to hold from sell.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV gained 1.2 percent to 76.09 euros. The world’s biggest brewer agreed to pay $5.8 billion to buy back Oriental Brewery Co. Ltd. from KKR & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners Ltd. The deal has an enterprise value of $5.8 billion, according to a statement. AB InBev will pay for the acquisition from internal resources.

Market Focus

  • The eurozone started the third quarter on a solid footing, according to PMI survey data
  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • 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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