- Air Liquide slides after agreeing to buy U.S. rival Airgas
- Syngenta advances amid possible renewal of Monsanto interest
European stocks were little changed as investors assessed value after the strongest rally in six weeks, while France’s CAC 40 Index retreated after a police gun battle with suspects linked to the Paris terror attack.
Air Liquide SA slid the most on the French equity gauge, falling 7.4 percent after agreeing to purchase U.S. rival Airgas Inc. The CAC 40, which jumped the most in six weeks yesterday, retreated 0.6 percent at the close of trading in Paris after the shootout left at least two people dead. L’Oreal SA slid 1.7 percent and LVMH lost 1.1 percent in France. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1 percent to 379.33, paring earlier losses of as much as 0.8 percent.
The Stoxx 600 stalled after a rally in energy producers helped push it higher in the two trading days following the attacks in Paris. The gauge closed yesterday 12 percent higher than its September low, boosted by optimism that the European Central Bank will add to stimulus measures.
“You’ve had a good run in the market so there’s a short-term profit taking after a really strong day,” said Patrick Spencer, equities vice chairman at Robert W. Baird & Co. in London. “On top of that, the strong U.S. inflation numbers put further evidence that there’s going to be a rate hike and that’s a concern of European equities as it makes borrowing more expensive for companies.”
Investors are also awaiting minutes from the Federal Reserve due after the close of European trading to gauge the likelihood of an increase in borrowing costs next month. U.S. inflation data yesterday bolstered the case for higher interest rates.
European stocks will be under pressure in the near term because it’s unlikely that riskier assets such as equities will do well if the Fed raises rates and financial conditions tighten, Deutsche Bank AG’s Sebastian Raedler wrote in a note published Nov. 17.
Among other companies active today, U.K. Mail Plc tumbled 12 percent to the lowest in almost three years after the delivery service said it’s cutting dividends as expenses associated with a new headquarters and upgrading equipment will weigh more than previously expected on 2016 earnings.
Enel SpA led utilities lower, falling 3 percent after saying it will buy back its renewables energy business. Telefonica SA lost 2.2 percent as it traded without the right to its dividend.
Miners posted the best performance on the Stoxx 600. Glencore Plc advanced 5 percent, Rio Tinto Group added 2.1 percent and Anglo American Plc gained 4.3 percent.
Syngenta AG added 3.3 percent after Monsanto Co.’s chief operating officer said his company is considering whether to make another attempt to acquire the world’s largest pesticide maker. Wirecard AG climbed 1.7 percent after the payments processor posted a 29 percent jump in third-quarter earnings.