European Stocks Little Changed; Vestas Drops as UBS Jumps

European stocks were little changed, paring earlier losses, as banks rallied while telecommunication companies fell.

UBS AG jumped 5.4 percent after Switzerland’s biggest bank posted earnings that exceeded analysts’ projections. Royal KPN NV lost 4.8 percent after the biggest Dutch telecommunications provider said it would cut jobs as a mobile-phone price war hurt earnings. Vestas Wind Systems A/S dropped 4.8 percent after saying it seeks to raise capital.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 317.58 at the close of trading after earlier dropping as much as 0.8 percent. The Stoxx 600 has fallen 5.5 percent from its six-year high on Jan. 22 as a rout in emerging-market currencies spurred concern the global economic recovery is faltering, while the Federal Reserve went on slowing the pace of its bond buying.

“We still haven’t seen a strong rebound in Europe,” Soeren Steinert, who helps manage about $25 billion as associate director for equities trading at Quoniam Asset Management GmbH, said by phone from Frankfurt. “Markets around the world are nowhere near recovering yesterday’s losses, and there isn’t that much fresh money wanting to jump in. There’s still a lot of uncertainty on whether the global economy is as strong as investors had expected it to be.”

Global stocks lost about $864 billion in value yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg show. About $2.9 trillion has been erased from equities worldwide in 2014. The volume of shares changing hands today in companies listed on the Stoxx 600 was 25 percent greater than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Factory Orders

A U.S. report showed factory orders fell 1.5 percent in December, less than economists had forecast. In the U.K., construction expanded at the fastest pace since August 2007 last month, Markit Economics figures showed.

National benchmark indexes gained in 11 of the 18 western-European markets today. Germany’s DAX slid 0.6 percent while France’s CAC 40 added 0.2 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 0.3 percent.

UBS added 5.4 percent to 18.39 Swiss francs. The bank reported net income of 917 million francs ($1.01 billion), double the 442 million-franc average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. UBS recorded a 470 million-franc tax gain in the quarter.

Banco Comercial Portugues SA advanced 12 percent to 18.1 euro cents after posting a smaller annual loss than analysts had predicted. The Portuguese lender said its loss narrowed to 740 million euros ($999 million) in 2013 from 1.2 billion euros in 2012. Banco Espirito Santo SA upgraded its rating on the shares to buy from neutral.

Neste Oil

Neste Oil Oyj jumped 8.8 percent to 14.65 euros after reporting fourth-quarter profit of 193 million euros, beating the average analyst projection of 69 million euros. Finland’s only oil refiner proposed paying investors 65 euro cents a share, more than the Bloomberg Dividend Forecast of 50 cents.

Premier Oil Plc climbed 8.6 percent to 291.1 pence. Simon Lockett said he will quit his job as chief executive officer. The explorer said last month oil production in 2014 would miss its forecast after disruptions to fields in the U.K. North Sea and Vietnam.

RSA Insurance Group Plc rose 2.9 percent to 99 pence after naming Stephen Hester as CEO. Hester was CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc until October.

KPN declined 4.8 percent to 2.57 euros. The company said it would eliminate as much as 14 percent of its workforce in the Netherlands over the next three years. Fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 29 percent to 581 million euros, missing analysts’ estimates.

Vestas Slips

Vestas dropped 4.8 percent to 170.10 kroner. The world’s biggest wind-turbine manufacturer will sell as many as 20.4 million new shares through a private placement at market price after a two-year turnaround program dragged the company out of debt and resulted in its first quarterly profit since mid-2011. Net income in the fourth quarter of 218 million euros beat analysts’ expectations.

ARM Holdings Plc slid 5.9 percent to 875 pence after the semiconductor company whose designs power Apple Inc.’s iPhones and iPads reported royalty revenue rose 7 percent in the fourth quarter to $146.4 million, less than the 13 percent growth in the third quarter and a 19 percent increase a year earlier.

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