European Stocks Are Little Changed; LSE Declines on LCH

European stocks were little changed as companies from PPR SA to Aker Solutions ASA reported earnings and finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations met in Moscow.

PPR surged to an 11-year high after the French owner of Gucci reported profit that topped estimates. Aker Solutions dropped the most since April 2009 as fourth-quarter net income missed analyst estimates. London Stock Exchange Group Plc tumbled 4 percent as RBC Capital Markets LLC said LCH.Clearnet Ltd.’s 2012 results were weak.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 287.34 at the close of trade in London. The benchmark measure has rallied 2.7 percent so far this year after U.S. lawmakers reached a New Year budget compromise and closed unchanged for the week.

“After reaching the highs we have seen for European and U.S. markets, it seems that we’re due for a period of digestion where politics begin to bounce back to the center of attention,” said John Plassard, vice president at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva, which oversees about $28 billion. “Investors are watching the G-20 meeting in Moscow amid recent talks of a currency war.”

The volume of shares changing hands in Stoxx 600-listed companies was 23 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Currency War

G-20 finance ministers and central bankers begin talks in Moscow today with investors seeking clarity on how comfortable they are with a sliding yen.

Japan is in the spotlight after the yen tumbled about 12 percent in the past three months on the bet that new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pursue a more aggressive monetary policy. That has led to concern that he’s chasing a cheaper yen, potentially triggering a currency war with other countries.

A report showed American consumer confidence increased more than estimated this month. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary February index of sentiment rose to 76.3 from 73.8 the prior month. The gauge was projected to rise to 74.8, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

National benchmark indexes rose in eight of the 18 western-European markets today. France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.3 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was little changed. Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 percent.

PPR, Eni

PPR jumped 7.6 percent to 172 euros, the highest price since July 2001. The company’s so-called recurring operating income climbed 19 percent to 1.79 billion euros. The average estimate of 10 analysts in a Bloomberg survey called for 1.75 billion euros. The company said it expects its performance to improve further in 2013.

Eni SpA rose 2.1 percent to 17.69 euros. Italy’s biggest oil company proposed a 2012 dividend of 1.08 euros a share, up from 1.04 euros the previous year, even as Eni reported a 3.6 percent decline in fourth-quarter adjusted net income to 1.52 billion euros ($2 billion).

Anglo American Plc gained 1.3 percent to 2,039 pence. Full-year earnings per share amounted to $2.26, topping the average analyst projection for $1.92, Ebitda was $8.69 billion, more than the $7.99 billion analysts had estimated.

Gerresheimer AG advanced 3.9 percent to 43.17 euros, the highest price since it sold shares to the public in June 2007, after CA Cheuvreux and Kepler Capital Markets raised their recommendations for the stock.

Aker, LSE

Aker Solutions fell 11 percent to 107 kroner. The oil-services provider controlled by billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke reported fourth-quarter net income of 504 million kroner ($91 million), missing the average analyst projection that called for 678.6 million kroner.

LSE lost 53 pence to 1,288 pence. The exchange operator which has agreed to buy as much as 60 percent of LCH.Clearnet under renegotiated terms, tumbled the most since September after the clearinghouse posted earnings that RBC called “weak.”

“We are surprised, and not pleasantly,” RBC said, adding LCH’s underlying revenue grew 2 percent and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization declined 10 percent last year.

Darty Plc, the owner of France’s biggest consumer-electronics chain, tumbled 7.5 percent to 46 pence after saying it is in danger of missing annual profit estimates.

Sales weakened toward the end of the three months through January, while high levels of promotional activity are harming profitability, the London-based company said today.

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