European Stocks Little Changed as Health-Care Shares Fall

European stocks were little changed, paring a weekly advance, as slides in health-care and commodity-producer shares offset gains in media companies.

A gauge of health-care stocks was the biggest drag on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as Novartis AG and AstraZeneca Plc retreated. Outokumpu Oyj and Anglo American Plc paced miners lower. Abengoa SA and SBM Offshore NV led oil and energy-related companies down. Schibsted ASA pushed a measure of media stocks higher after announcing a deal for joint ventures in online classifieds across four countries.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 335.63 at the close of trading, paring its weekly gain to 0.1 percent. The measure has rebounded 8.3 percent from this year’s low on Oct. 16 as the Bank of Japan unexpectedly boosted its stimulus and most lenders in Europe passed capital-strength tests.

“Today is driven by the indecision of investors to be in or out of the market,” Ion-Marc Valahu, a co-founder and fund manager at Clairinvest in Geneva, wrote in an e-mail. “We’ve been up and down this week. Investors are thinking that it is not a good reason to be investing in the market just because November and December are historically among the two best months to invest. The flow is going towards the U.S.”

National benchmark indexes rose in 12 of the 18 western European markets today. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.4 percent, and Germany’s DAX climbed 0.1 percent.

Health-Care Decline

A measure of health-care companies fell the most of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600. Novartis slipped 0.8 percent to 90.45 Swiss francs, and AstraZeneca retreated 1.6 percent to 4,655.5 pence.

A gauge of commodity producers posted the second-largest decline on the Stoxx 600 amid concern that slowing global growth will hurt demand. Outokumpu fell 2.5 percent to 3.82 euros. Anglo American dropped 0.4 percent to 1,355 pence, for the biggest drag on the measure of mining companies.

Among energy stocks, Abengoa tumbled 37 percent to 1.50 euros -- its lowest price since July 2013 -- amid confusion over the degree of security offered to investors in one of the Spanish power-plant developer’s bonds.

SBM Offshore slid 3.9 percent to 11.55 euros amid concern that an investigation into allegations that it bribed Brazilian officials to get work may prevent it from competing for contracts with state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Nokia Oyj fell 5.5 percent to 6.28 euros. The Finnish company’s increased earnings target failed to convince investors seeking support for a stock that has gained about 28 percent since a low in February.

Arkema Advances

Arkema SA climbed 11 percent to 54.76 euros after reporting earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 203 million euros ($252 million) and confirming its 2014 profit target. Analysts had forecast 201.8 million euros.

A gauge of media-related stocks posted the best performance on the Stoxx 600. Schibsted jumped 34 percent to 487.40 kroner, its highest price since at least 1992. The Norwegian company and South Africa’s Nespers Ltd. will join forces with Telenor ASA and Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. to develop online classifieds businesses in Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh.

Airbus Group NV added 1.6 percent to 48.46 euros, after earlier rising as much as 4 percent. Third-quarter earnings before interest and tax, goodwill impairment and exceptionals rose to 821 million euros from 706 million euros. Analysts had estimated profit of 662 million euros.

Bouygues SA advanced 4.2 percent to 28.21 euros. The French construction, telecommunications and media conglomerate raised its outlook for 2014 revenue as construction abroad offset a slowdown in France and a price war in mobile-phone services.

Euro-area GDP increased 0.2 percent in the third quarter from the previous period, when it rose 0.1 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said. Analysts had forecast growth of 0.1 percent. German GDP rose 0.1 percent in the three month through September, in line with estimates. The French economy grew 0.3 percent, surpassing forecasts for 0.1 percent.

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