European stocks were little changed after last week’s biggest advance for the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index since early February.
Standard Life Plc and DSV A/S paced declining shares after analysts downgraded the companies. Misys Plc rallied 7.4 percent after Vista Equity Partners agreed to buy the company for 1.3 billion pounds ($2.1 billion). Greek banks climbed as corporate bond risk fell in Europe.
The Stoxx 600 slid 0.1 percent to 272.07 at the close in London, following last week’s 2.6 percent advance. The gauge rose to its highest level since July last week as data from Germany to the U.S. indicated global growth is gaining momentum and the Federal Reserve raised its assessment of the world’s largest economy.
The market is “getting very high, possibly running out of oxygen as it were. Some of the tactical indicators are beginning to look quite weak,” Michael O’Sullivan, head of portfolio strategy at Credit Suisse Private Banking said on Bloomberg Television. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of correction over the next couple of weeks.”
The Stoxx 600 has rallied 11 percent this year as the region’s central bank disbursed 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) of loans to euro-area banks and U.S. economic reports topped economists’ forecasts. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index have both jumped 12 percent.
National benchmark indexes fell in eight of Europe’s 18 western markets. France’s CAC 40 Index lost 0.5 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and Germany’s DAX Index slipped 0.1 percent each. The volume of shares changing hands on the Euro Stoxx 50 Index today was 22 percent less than the average over the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Implied Volatility Low
The VStoxx Index, which measures the cost of Euro Stoxx 50 options, slumped 19 percent last week, to its lowest level since April 29. It slipped 0.9 percent to 18.36 today.
Standard Life fell 1.2 percent to 247.7 pence, snapping a five-day rally. Credit Suisse Group AG downgraded Scotland’s biggest insurer to underperform from neutral, equivalent to a sell recommendation.
DSV retreated 2 percent to 131.30 kroner after UBS AG lowered its rating for the transport and logistic company to neutral from buy.
Julius Baer Group Ltd. fell 2.1 percent to 36.75 Swiss francs after saying Raymond J. Baer will step down from the board to lead efforts to resolve matters relating to a tax-evasion probe by the U.S. While he will become honorary chairman on April 11, it will be the first time in the company’s history that there hasn’t been a member of the Baer family on the board.
Misys, TNT Express
Misys paced advancing shares, jumping 7.4 percent to 354 pence in London after Vista reached an agreement to buy the British financial software company for 350 pence a share, a week after Temenos Group AG ended talks over an all-share merger with Misys.
TNT Express NV also advanced 1.1 percent to 9.44 euros after United Parcel Service Inc. sweetened its bid to 5.16 billion euros.
PostNL NV increased 1 percent to 4.71 euros after the company agreed to sell its 29.8 percent stake in TNT following UPS’s takeover bid.
National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, rallied 6.2 percent to 2.57 euros as the cost of insuring against default on European corporate debt fell to the lowest in more than eight months. EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA, the second largest, climbed 8.8 percent to 92.5 euro cents.
Contracts on the Markit iTraxx Crossover Index of 50 companies with mostly high-yield credit ratings dropped 25 basis points to 503.5 at 4.54 p.m. A decline signals improvement in perceptions of credit quality.
Credit-default swaps dealers held an auction today to settle as much as $3.2 billion of Greek bond insurance triggered by the nation’s debt restructuring.