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13.02.2014 18:20

European stock close

European stocks retreated, halting their longest winning streak of the year, as companies from Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc to BNP Paribas (BNP) SA reported results.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.2 percent to 331.48 at 4:30 p.m. in London after earlier losing as much as 1 percent. The gauge jumped 4.5 percent in the six days through yesterday, with comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen fueling optimism the economy can weather further stimulus cuts.

A U.S. Commerce Department report in Washington showed that retail sales unexpectedly declined 0.4 percent in January after falling a revised 0.1 percent the previous month. Separate data showed that initial unemployment claims rose to 339,000 in the week ended Feb. 8 from 331,000 in the prior period. Economists had expected a drop to 330,000.

European shares pared earlier losses after a report showed U.S. consumer confidence improved for the first time in five weeks. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 30.7 in the week ended Feb. 9 from minus 33.1 the prior period. A measure of the state of the economy jumped to the highest level since September.

National benchmark indexes dropped in 13 of the 18 western-European markets.

FTSE 100 6,660.66 -14.37 -0.22% CAC 40 4,314.03 +8.53 +0.20% DAX 9,590.94 +50.94 +0.53%

Rolls-Royce (RR/) tumbled 14 percent to 1,044 pence. The maker of commercial-jet engines said 2014 revenue won’t increase because of lower demand for defense equipment. The company reported that pretax profit excluding hedging and some one-time items rose to 1.76 billion pounds ($2.9 billion) in 2013, while sales advanced 27 percent to 15.5 billion pounds.

BNP Paribas retreated 2.7 percent to 59.24 euros. Net income fell to 127 million euros ($173 million) from 519 million euros a year earlier after the lender set aside $1.1 billion. The Paris-based bank said in October that it was reviewing payments that might be subject to U.S. sanctions. Today’s result was the lowest quarterly profit since the fourth quarter of 2008, when it posted a loss, and it missed the 1.02 billion-euro average analyst estimate.

Nestle slipped 1.6 percent to 66.05 Swiss francs. The world’s largest food company projected that revenue will rise about 5 percent this year excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency shifts. The Kit Kat maker also reported the smallest annual sales advance in four years amid sluggish spending in developed markets.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) declined 2.4 percent to 81.5 pence. Britain’s biggest mortgage lender reported its net loss narrowed to 838 million pounds for 2013, more than the 519 million-pound loss that analysts had estimated.

ABB Ltd. (ABBN) decreased 2.5 percent to 22.42 francs. The maker of power transformers lowered its medium-term sales target, citing weak global economic growth. The company predicted that sales excluding acquisitions will grow at an annual rate of 4 percent to 5 percent in the four years to 2015. That compared with a previous target of 5.5 percent to 8.5 percent. Net income declined 13 percent to $525 million in the fourth quarter, the company said.

Commerzbank AG rose 1.6 percent to 13.61 euros. Germany’s second-largest bank said net income amounted to 64 million euros in the fourth quarter, beating the average analyst projection that called for a 23.3 million-euro profit. Today’s profit compared with a loss of 726 million in the year earlier.

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