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18.02.2014 18:20

European stocks close

European stocks were little changed, after two days of gains, as a measure of German investor confidence fell more than forecast and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index missed estimates.

German investor confidence fell for a second month in February. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, slid to 55.7 from 61.7 in January, after reaching a seven-year high of 62 in December. Economists had forecast a decline to 61.5, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

A report today showed manufacturing in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut slowed this month. The Fed Bank of New York’s general economic index fell to 4.48 in February from 12.5 in January. Economists in a Bloomberg News survey predicted the index would decline to 8.5. Positive readings mean that activity expanded.

National benchmark indexes retreated in 12 of the 18 western-European markets today. France’s CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX rose less than 0.1 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 0.9 percent.

Inditex lost 4 percent to 105.15 euros, its lowest price since September. Citigroup cut the owner of the Zara chain to neutral from buy and lowered its 2015 pre-tax earnings estimate by 3 percent, citing negative foreign exchange effects.

Centrica slid 1.3 percent to 314.4 pence. UBS lowered its recommendation on the Windsor, United Kingdom-based company to sell from neutral, saying potential political intervention may hurt its ability to write long-term contracts and reduce investment confidence. U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey on Feb. 10 said he asked the regulator to investigate whether the former state monopoly is profiting from too-high tariffs.

Alstom SA fell 3.8 percent to 20.18 euros. The French government has appointed an unnamed group of consultants to study the train and power-equipment maker’s market position and its strategic options, newspaper Les Echos reported, citing an unidentified person in government.

Hochtief AG climbed 4.7 percent to 62.74 euros. Goldman Sachs raised the German builder controlled by Spain’s Actividades de Construccion & Servicios SA to buy from neutral, citing its recent performance lagging its peers and the possibility of a share buyback.

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