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European stocks were little changed, after climbing for seven days, as investors awaited the outcome of the European Central Bank’s meeting. U.S. stock-index futures and Asian shares were also little changed.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.1 percent to 337.15 at 10 a.m. in London, following its longest winning streak since October. The equity benchmark has climbed 3.9 percent since March 24 as improving U.S. data signaled the world’s largest economy is recovering from the harsh winter.
The ECB will probably leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low 0.25 percent, according economist projections. The central bank will announce its policy decision at 1:45 p.m. in Frankfurt, and President Mario Draghi holds a press conference 45 minutes later.
U.S. data at 10 a.m. New York time may show service industries expanded at a faster pace last month. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index rose to 53.5 in March from 51.6 in February, according to the median economist projection. A reading greater than 50 signals expansion in industries that make up almost 90 percent of the world’s largest economy.
Nokian Renkaat dropped 3 percent to 29.77 euros. The Finnish tiremaker said net sales and operating profit will probably drop this year because of the weaker outlook for Russia’s economy and the declining ruble. The company had predicted revenue and earnings growth on Feb. 7. Russia and its neighboring countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States accounted for 34 percent of the company’s sales last year.
Deutsche Bank slipped 1.5 percent to 32.83 euros. JPMorgan cut the stock to neutral from overweight, a rating similar to buy. Analyst Kian Abouhossein predicted that liquidity rules from the European Banking Authority will reduce the bank’s capital by 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion) by September.
Rexel SA (RXL) lost 2.7 percent to 18.89 euros, its largest drop in almost six weeks. Ray Investment SARL, Rexel’s second-largest publicly disclosed investor, offered 27 million shares in the wire and cable distributor at 18.85 apiece, according to three people familiar with the deal who asked not to be named.
BTG added 2.8 percent to 556 pence. The British biotechnology company, which won U.S. regulatory clearance for its varicose-vein treatment in November, said sales for the year ended March 31 probably neared the top end of its 275 million pound ($458 million) to 285 million-pound projection. BTG will report its annual results on May 20.
FTSE 100 6,654.6 -4.44 -0.07%
CAC 40 4,426.43 -4.43 -0.10%
DAX 9,616.76 -6.60 -0.07%
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