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European Stocks Close Unchanged; Debenhams Gains

European stocks closed unchanged from yesterday’s level, erasing intraday gains, as companies from Debenhams Plc to Syngenta AG (SYNN) and Nokia Oyj reported financial results.

Debenhams rallied the most in more than five months after the U.K.’s second-biggest department-store chain gained market share in the first half. Syngenta advanced 3 percent as the chemical company’s Brazilian operations boosted revenue. Nokia tumbled 8.3 percent after the mobile-phone maker posted results that disappointed investors.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed at 283.73, erasing an earlier advance of as much as 0.7 percent. The equity gauge has lost 3 percent so far this week as reports from U.S. manufacturing and retail sales to Chinese economic growth fell short of forecasts.

“With the markets having fallen so sharply in the last few weeks, a lot of the concerns about results have already been discounted by investors,” said Matthew Beesley, the London- based head of equities at Henderson Global Investors Holdings Ltd. which overseas about $100 billion. “That leaves scope for some of these companies to move quite significantly on half- decent earnings.”

Some 29 companies on the S&P 500 including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. report results today. In Europe, seven companies on the Stoxx 600 have posted earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Of those that have announced results so far, 64 percent have beaten estimates for profit.

American Economy

Stocks erased gains after U.S. economic data missed estimates. A release showed the Conference Board’s index of leading indicators unexpectedly dropped 0.1 percent in March. Economists had forecast a 0.1 percent gain.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index fell to 1.3 in April from 2 in March. Readings greater than zero mean manufacturing expanded in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey had called for a reading of 3.

National benchmark indexes fell in 12 of the 18 western European (SXXP) markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and France’s CAC 40 Index were little changed and Germany’s DAX Index slid 0.4 percent.

Debenhams gained 4.9 percent to 84.45 pence after reporting a 46 percent increase in first-half online sales, climbing three times faster than the market. Chief Executive Officer Michael Sharp said the company gained market share across its menswear, womenswear and beauty ranges after increasing promotions to clear excess stock.

Syngenta, Glaxo

Syngenta climbed 3 percent to 389.60 Swiss francs after the world’s largest maker of crop chemicals reported a 6 percent increase in first-quarter sales to to $4.60 billion, buoyed by Brazilian operations that helped offset weaker demand for seeds and crop chemicals in parts of Europe. That met the $4.57 billion average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc rallied 3.2 percent to 1,658 pence, the highest price since April 2002, after advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended that experimental treatment Breo Ellipta be approved to treat a lung disorder.

Sky Deutschland AG increased 3.9 percent to 4.19 euros after the German pay-TV provider’s chief financial officer, Steven Tomsic, confirmed the company’s 2013 forecast for positive earnings in a speech for its annual general meeting.

Opap SA (OPAP) rallied 6.2 percent to 7.02 euros after Greece’s state asset sales funds announced that two groups submitted binding offers for a 33 percent stake in the country’s biggest gambling company.

Nokia dropped 8.3 percent to 2.42 euros after posting a 20 percent drop in first-quarter sales of 5.85 billion euros ($7.6 billion). That missed the average analyst estimate of 6.52 billion euros, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Sodexo tumbled 9.6 percent to 64.03 euros, the largest drop since November 2007. The second-biggest provider of catering services cut its annual profit-growth forecast after first-half results missed projections. The company expects “stable” earnings before interest and taxes compared with last year, after saying in January it expected “modest” profit growth.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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