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23.07.2014 17:20

European stocks close

European stocks were little changed, as investors considered earnings from companies including Akzo Nobel NV and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, while a measure of consumer confidence unexpectedly declined.

Data this month showed euro-area retail sales increased in May from a year earlier, while car registrations climbed in June. In the U.S., a report showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell in the week ended July 12.

Still, shares pared gains after a report showed euro-area consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in July. An index of household confidence in the 18-nation euro zone decreased to minus 8.4 from minus 7.5 in June, the European Commission in Brussels said in a preliminary release. That fell short of the median forecast of minus 7.5 in a Bloomberg News survey.

National benchmark indexes rose in 15 of the 18 western-European markets. France's CAC 40 advanced 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX increased 0.2 percent, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 added less than 0.1 percent.

The European Union is weighing limiting Russia's access to capital markets. Two planes carrying bodies from flight MH17 left eastern Ukraine today for the Netherlands. The U.S. has indicated it believes Russia supplied the missile that downed the Malaysia Airlines jet last week, killing all 298 people on board.

Akzo Nobel rose 3.9 percent to 54.23 euros. Europe's largest paintmaker said second-quarter operating profit rose 10 percent to 353 million euros ($475 million), driven by demand for household coatings in Asia and parts of Europe. Analysts had estimated 340 million euros.

Outotec surged 7.5 percent to 8.21 euros. Weir may consider buying the Finnish company after it failed in a bid for mine-equipment supplier Metso Oyj earlier this year, according to newspapers including the Daily Mail, which said Weir could offer 12 euros a share.

GlaxoSmithKline dropped 4.7 percent to 1,481.5 pence. The U.K.'s biggest drugmaker posted second-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates as sales of its respiratory drugs in the U.S. remained sluggish. The company also cut its forecast for the year.

Deutsche Bank lost 0.7 percent to 26.48 euros, paring losses of as much as 2.8 percent. The Wall Street Journal said that bank overseers faulted some of the German lender's U.S. businesses last year for "inaccurate and unreliable" financial reports. A Federal Reserve Bank of New York review of the company's U.S. operations also found they suffered from inadequate oversight and auditing, as well as weak technology, the newspaper said, citing documents it reviewed.

STMicroelectronics NV fell 5.8 percent to 6.56 euros. Europe's largest semiconductor maker reported an 8.9 percent decline in second-quarter revenue to $1.86 billion, even as it posted its first profit in 11 quarters.

Market Focus

  • The eurozone started the third quarter on a solid footing, according to PMI survey data
  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • German private sector output growth slowed for the second month running in July
  • ECB's Mersch says as conditions normalise, it is unlikely that uncoventional policies will remain necessary
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