European Stocks Little Changed Following Two-Week AdvanceInyoung Hwang
European stocks were little changed, after a two-week rally pushed the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to a six-year high, as a decline in bank shares offset a rally in luxury-goods companies. U.S. index futures were little changed.
Deutsche Bank AG dropped the most since September 2012 after Germany’s largest lender reported a surprise fourth-quarter loss. PSA Peugeot Citroen tumbled 11 percent after Europe’s second-biggest carmaker was said to have obtained board approval for a capital increase of 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion). Luxottica Group SpA rose 4 percent after Deutsche Bank advised investors to buy shares in the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses.
The Stoxx 600 slipped 0.1 percent to 335.5 at the close of trading. The benchmark jumped 1.8 percent last week, extending its gain since the start of the year to 2.3 percent, as mining companies rallied and the World Bank raised its global-growth forecasts. That pushed the measure’s price-to-earnings ratio based on its members’ estimated earnings to 14.1, above the five-year average of 12.1.
“It’s reassuring to see markets holding steady in Europe, even after the move down in Asia and the disappointing comments from Deutsche Bank,” Alex Neil, head of equity and derivatives trading at EFG Bank in Geneva, said in an interview. “If investors get behind the brave new world of decorrelation, there is still upside to many European stocks, and this will help us ride out some of the background risks, such as falling euro inflation and a Chinese slowdown.”
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures slid less than 0.1 percent today. The U.S. equity markets are closed for a holiday marking the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
China’s economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter as gains in factory output and investment spending eased last month, data showed today. Gross domestic product rose 7.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with 7.8 percent in the third quarter. Industrial production increased 9.7 percent in December from a year earlier, slower than the 9.8 percent median forecast of analysts and a 10 percent jump in November.
National benchmark gauges fell in 11 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent. Germany’s DAX slid 0.3 percent. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.1 percent.
Deutsche Bank fell 5.4 percent to 37.21 euros. The lender posted a pretax loss of 1.15 billion euros in the fourth quarter because of 528 million euros in litigation-related expenses, costs tied to its reorganization and charges to adjust credit, debt and funding valuations. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey had called for a 628.5 million-euro pretax profit. The bank announced results 10 days ahead of schedule.
Banks, insurance companies and financial-services providers posted the biggest losses among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Commerzbank AG declined 4.5 percent to 12.94 euros, while Credit Suisse Group AG retreated 2.5 percent to 29 Swiss francs. ICAP Plc, the inter-dealer broker, slid 4.3 percent to 432.8 pence.
Peugeot dropped 11 percent to 10.21 euros. The board approved a capital-increase plan that includes China’s Dongfeng Motor Corp. and the French state each investing at least 750 million euros, according to a person familiar with the matter. The automaker would also make a rights offering of about 1.4 billion euros.
Lanxess AG retreated 3 percent to 48.25 euros. Nomura Holdings Inc cut its rating on the specialty-chemicals maker to reduce from neutral. The brokerage cited Lanxess’s pricing power as the main risk.
Air France-KLM Group declined 5 percent to 8.84 euros. UBS AG downgraded Europe’s biggest airline to neutral from buy, citing the recent rally in the shares. Air France rallied 23 percent from the start of the year through Jan. 17.
A gauge of personal and household-goods companies posted the second-biggest gain in the Stoxx 600. Deutsche Bank said the industry will achieve sales growth of 8 percent and an earnings increase of 12 percent this year and that investors must look for select opportunities.
Luxottica climbed 4 percent to 38.90 euros after Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the company to buy from hold. Hermes International SCA rose 1.3 percent to 247.15 euros after the brokerage upgraded the company to hold from sell.
Weir Group Plc added 4.2 percent to 2,227 pence, the biggest increase in nine months for the oil-rig engineering company. The number of rigs targeting oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 23 last week to 1,777, the most in nine months, data from Baker Hughes Inc. showed.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV gained 1.3 percent to 76.12 euros. The world’s biggest brewer agreed to pay $5.8 billion to buy back Oriental Brewery Co. Ltd. from KKR & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners Ltd. The deal has an enterprise value of $5.8 billion, according to a statement. AB InBev will pay for the acquisition from internal resources.