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European stocks were little changed near a six-year high, as Credit Suisse Group AG’s decline offset a better-than-forecast report on U.S. home purchases.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 0.1 percent to 337.97 at 4:30 p.m. in London, after earlier falling as much as 0.6 percent. The equity gauge has advanced 4.8 percent this month, on course for the largest monthly gain since July. It declined 1.8 percent in January.
In the U.S., purchases of new homes unexpectedly climbed in January to the highest level in more than five years, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Sales increased 9.6 percent to a 468,000 annualized pace last month from a revised 427,000 in December. Economists had forecast a decline to 400,000.
National benchmark indexes fell in 12 of the 18 western-European markets today.
FTSE 100 6,799.15 -31.35 -0.46% CAC 40 4,396.91 -17.64 -0.40% DAX 9,661.73 -37.62 -0.39%
Jeronimo Martins slipped 6.2 percent to 12.20 euros. The Portuguese retailer that gets most of its sales from Poland said net income rose 6 percent to 382 million euros ($524 million) in 2013. That missed the 386.8 million-euro average analyst projection.
Tesco Plc (TSCO) fell 2.6 percent to 326.6 pence as Oriel Securities Ltd. cut its rating on the U.K.’s largest retailer to hold from add. The brokerage said that Tesco failed to announce sufficient changes at yesterday’s investor day to reverse declining same-store sales. Analysts at Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays said Tesco’s promise of permanently cheaper prices will hurt its profitability.
Lanxess AG retreated 2.6 percent to 53.39 euros. The chemicals maker predicted it would report a net loss of 159 million euros for 2013 when it publishes final figures on March 20. The company took a charge of 257 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2013 because it produced more goods than it could sell and raw material and energy costs were high, according to a statement.
AB InBev (ABI) added 3 percent to 76.48 euros. Earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and depreciation, excluding some items, totaled $5.2 billion in the fourth quarter, the brewer of Budweiser beer said today in a statement. That beat the $5 billion median estimate of analysts. So-called organic growth of 13 percent exceeded projections for 10 percent.
Swiss Life Holding AG (SLHN) climbed 6 percent to 214.70 francs. The country’s largest life insurer raised its payout by 22 percent to 5.50 francs a share. Net income of 781 million francs ($878 million) for 2013 also exceeded analysts’ estimates as premium income rose and costs declined.
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