European stocks fell, after the Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed yesterday to a six-year high, as investors weighed earnings and equity valuations.
Mediaset SpA declined 6.6 percent after the Italian broadcaster controlled by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi swung to a first-quarter loss. Banco Comercial Portugues SA led lenders lower in Lisbon after a report that it plans a capital increase. Compass Group Plc rallied to a record after saying it will return $1.7 billion to investors. Nordex SE rose to its highest price since May 2009 after raising its full-year forecasts.
The Stoxx 600 retreated less than 0.1 percent to 341.59 at the close. The gauge advanced 3 percent in the past four weeks as mergers-and-acquisitions activity increased and the European Central Bank pledged to ease monetary policy in June if needed.
“After the tremendous rally up to yesterday, investors are waiting to see what will happen next,” Robert Halver, head of capital-markets research at Baader Bank AG in Frankfurt, said in a telephone interview. “We see a mixed picture in earnings right now. The outlook is a little bit constrained.”
Profit for the members of the Stoxx 600 will increase 8.4 percent this year on average, according to analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The benchmark gauge trades at 15.2 times the projected earnings of its members, compared with the five-year average of 12.5 times.
In London, the Bank of England released its quarterly inflation report, in which policy makers said that the level of spare labor capacity has narrowed slightly in the last few months and needs to come down further.
National benchmark indexes fell in nine of the 18 western European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were little changed.
Mediaset lost 6.6 percent to 3.47 euros. The company posted a net loss of 12.5 million euros ($17 million) in the first quarter compared with a 9.3 million-euro profit a year earlier. Mediaset didn’t give full-year forecasts, saying “poor visibility” made it difficult to do so.
Banco Comercial retreated 11 percent to 18.1 euro cents and Banco Espirito Santo SA lost 8.2 percent to 1.12 euros after Diario Economico reported that both lenders plan capital increases. The paper didn’t say how it got the information.
Compass rose 1.6 percent to 996 pence, its highest price since its split from Granada Compass Plc in 2001. The world’s biggest catering company plans to return 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) to shareholders through a special dividend and share consolidation. A gauge of travel and leisure companies climbed the most among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
Nordex gained 11 percent to 14.28 euros. The German wind-turbine maker now expects 2014 sales of 1.5 billion euros to 1.6 billion euros, compared with an earlier prediction of as much as 1.5 billion euros.
Teleperformance advanced 4.7 percent to 44.17 euros. The Paris-based call-center operator said first-quarter revenue grew 3 percent from a year earlier and confirmed full-year forecasts for comparable-sales growth.
3i Group Plc rallied 5.8 percent to 400.20 euros after announcing a dividend that beat the Bloomberg Dividend Forecast.