European Stocks Are Little Changed as Mediaset GainsJonathan Morgan
European stocks were little changed, with the benchmark index posting its the biggest weekly loss since early April, as investors weighed data that showed U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in June.
Mediaset SpA gained 4 percent after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded its recommendation on the stock. Ophir Energy Plc fell 5.4 percent after UBS AG downgraded the shares. Imagination Technologies Group Plc dropped 5.8 percent after Intel Corp. sold a 9.3 percent stake in the U.K. designer of chip technology for devices.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added less than 0.1 percent to 341.97 at the close. The benchmark gauge declined 1.8 percent this week as investors weighed the crisis in Iraq and disappointing U.S. economic data.
“Investors are awaiting the next market-moving catalyst amid low volumes and volatility,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London. “The U.S. has provided some mixed messages this week.”
The volume of shares changing hands in Stoxx 600-listed companies was 11 percent lower than the 30-day average for this time of the day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
National benchmark indexes gained 11 of the 18 western-European markets today. France’s CAC 40 fell less than 0.1 percent, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.3 percent.
Data showed that consumer confidence in the U.S. rose in June, beating estimates and negating a preliminary report that signaled a drop. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of sentiment came in at 82.5, compared with economists’ projection for 82 and the earlier estimate of 81.2, economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted. It had fallen in May.
James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said the U.S. economy is improving enough to withstand an increase in short-term interest rates next year. He predicted the pace of economic growth will accelerate to 3 percent this year after an unexpectedly deep first-quarter contraction.
Mediaset gained 4 percent to 3.62 euros. Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the Italian broadcaster controlled by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to neutral from a rating similar to sell. Exane cited the possibility of a tie-up between Mediaset and Al-Jazeera network.
Lundin Petroleum AB climbed 3.8 percent to 135.10 kronor. DNB Markets Inc. started coverage of the shares with a buy recommendation, citing its growth prospects.
Ophir Energy lost 5.4 percent to 218.7 pence. UBS cut the oil explorer to neutral from buy, citing the company’s failure to find reserves in an offshore Gabon field.
Imagination Technologies Group Plc dropped 5.8 percent to 211.7 pence, taking its three-day decline to 16 percent. Intel Corp. sold 25 million shares at 205 pence apiece for a value of 51.25 million pounds ($87.3 million).
Banco Espirito Santo SA dropped 11 percent to 72.1 euro cents after research firm CreditSights downgraded the lender’s five-year senior credit-default swaps to underperform, or sell, rating, from market perform, or neutral.