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European stocks were little changed, erasing earlier gains, as a rally in food and beverage makers offset a decline in mining stocks.
The International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for global growth this year as expansions in the U.S. and the U.K. accelerate. The economy will grow 3.7 percent, compared with an October estimate of 3.6 percent, the IMF said.
German data showed investor confidence slipped in January after gaining for five straight months. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, fell to 61.7 from 62 in December. That missed the median economist estimate for an increase to 64.
National benchmark indexes fell in 10 of the 18 western-European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped less than 0.1 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index increased less than 0.1 percent, and Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent.
Unilever gained 2.3 percent to 29.49 euros in Amsterdam after saying fourth-quarter sales excluding acquisitions and currency fluctuations rose 4.1 percent, beating the median analyst estimate that called for a 3.9 percent increase.
A gauge of food and drink stocks in the Stoxx 600 rose 1.2 percent to its highest level since May. Danone, the world’s largest yogurt maker, added 2.1 percent to 52.11 euros. Pernod Ricard SA advanced 3.7 percent to 84.25 euros.
Wirecard AG jumped 5.2 percent to 32.12 euros, the highest price since its October 2000 initial public offering. The provider of software for electronic payments said sales increased to 482.2 million euros ($652.6 million) last year, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 15 percent to 126 million euros. The company predicted “strong growth in all core markets” for 2014.
Henkel AG increased 2 percent to 85.35 euros, its highest price since at least August 1992. The German maker of Schwarzkopf hair products and Loctite glue said it will increase its dividend payout to as much as 35 percent of net income. The company had previously paid out about 25 percent.
Rio Tinto fell 3.1 percent to 3,231.5 pence and BHP slid 1.7 percent to 1,854.5 pence. A gauge of Stoxx 600 mining stocks fell the most among 19 industry groups today.
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