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European stocks were little changed, paring earlier losses, as banks rallied while telecommunication companies fell.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 317.58 at the close of trading after earlier dropping as much as 0.8 percent. The Stoxx 600 has fallen 5.5 percent from its six-year high on Jan. 22 as a rout in emerging-market currencies spurred concern the global economic recovery is faltering, while the Federal Reserve went on slowing the pace of its bond buying.
A U.S. report showed factory orders fell 1.5 percent in December, less than economists had forecast. In the U.K., construction expanded at the fastest pace since August 2007 last month, Markit Economics figures showed.
National benchmark indexes gained in 11 of the 18 western-European markets today. Germany’s DAX slid 0.6 percent while France’s CAC 40 added 0.2 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 0.3 percent.
UBS added 5.4 percent to 18.39 Swiss francs. The bank reported net income of 917 million francs ($1.01 billion), double the 442 million-franc average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. UBS recorded a 470 million-franc tax gain in the quarter.
Banco Comercial Portugues SA advanced 12 percent to 18.1 euro cents after posting a smaller annual loss than analysts had predicted. The Portuguese lender said its loss narrowed to 740 million euros ($999 million) in 2013 from 1.2 billion euros in 2012. Banco Espirito Santo SA upgraded its rating on the shares to buy from neutral.
KPN declined 4.8 percent to 2.57 euros. The company said it would eliminate as much as 14 percent of its workforce in the Netherlands over the next three years. Fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 29 percent to 581 million euros, missing analysts’ estimates.
Vestas dropped 4.8 percent to 170.10 kroner. The world’s biggest wind-turbine manufacturer will sell as many as 20.4 million new shares through a private placement at market price after a two-year turnaround program dragged the company out of debt and resulted in its first quarterly profit since mid-2011. Net income in the fourth quarter of 218 million euros beat analysts’ expectations.
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