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28.02.2014 18:20

European stock close

European stocks were little changed, with equities posting their biggest monthly gain since July, as Ukraine accused Russia of stoking tension on its territory and data showed U.S. fourth-quarter economic growth slowed more than estimated.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.1 percent to 337.55. The benchmark gauge rallied 4.7 percent in February as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pledged to follow her predecessor Ben S. Bernanke’s policy on economic stimulus. She told Congress any reduction in bond buying will be made in measured steps, based on economic data. The Fed has cut the size of the monthly purchases to $65 billion from $85 billion.

Lawmakers in Kiev approved Turchynov’s call for a session by the United Nations Security Council even as armed troops occupied Crimea’s main airport in Simferopol. The Russian involvement has fueled speculation of a partition of Ukraine between Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking regions. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned parliament of the growing threat of an economic collapse.

Crimea is the latest flash point in a violent conflict since November that led to the departure of Viktor Yanukovych as Ukraine’s president. At the core of the unrest is Ukraine’s future itself. Yanukovych chose ties with Russia, abandoning a closer association with the European Union that his detractors, who now run the interim government, favor.

The U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace in the fourth quarter than previously estimated. Gross domestic product grew at a 2.4 percent annualized rate from October through December, compared with the 3.2 percent gain estimated last month, revised figures from the Commerce Department showed. The median forecast called for a 2.5 percent increase.

A report from the National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. New York time may show that contracts to buy previously owned homes rose in January for the first time in eight months. A gauge of pending house sales increased 1.8 percent last month, after dropping in December by the most since May 2010.

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

FTSE 100 6,809.7 -0.57 -0.01% CAC 40 4,408.08 +11.69 +0.27% DAX 9,692.08 +103.75 +1.08%

Erste Group Bank dropped 10 percent to 25.71 euros. Austria’s biggest bank make provisions for bad loans and said it expects operating profit to miss estimates this year.

Pearson fell 6 percent to 1,012 pence, its lowest price since January 2011. Adjusted operating profit fell 21 percent to 736 million pounds ($1.23 billion) in 2013. Sales rose 2.3 percent to 5.18 billion pounds, missing the 5.8 billion-pound estimate by analysts.

Bankia SA, the lender whose losses forced Spain to take a European bailout, retreated 4.3 percent to 1.51 euros. Spain sold 7.5 percent of Bankia to start recovering 22.4 billion euros ($30.7 billion) provided to recapitalize the bank.

Andritz AG added 5.7 percent to 45.42 euros. The world’s second-biggest maker of hydro-power turbines reported a loss for the fourth quarter of 12.2 million euros, narrower than the 19.8 million-euro loss projected by analysts.

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