European Stocks Little Changed Amid China Data, Fed Rate Debate

  • Vodafone leads telecommunications rise as revenue beats
  • Greece's ASE worst performer in Europe as bank stocks slide

Here's Why the Markets Fell Off the Cliff

European stocks ended the day little changed as investors weighed further signs of a slowdown in China’s economy and the view that American’s recovery is strong enough to cope with a Federal Reserve interest rate increase this year.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.1 percent to 376.27 at the close of trading, after earlier falling as much as 0.7 percent and rising 0.4 percent. After rebounding 12 percent from its September low through the end of last week, the gauge halted its rally. With Friday’s U.S. jobs data increasing the chances of the Fed raising interest rates this year, investors are speculating on whether the global economy can continue its recovery, while China data keeps disappointing. President Mario Draghi has pledged that the European Central Bank will consider increasing stimulus at its December meeting.

“People are looking at the data and trying to second guess what central banks are going to do,” said Ben Kumar, who helps oversee about $14 billion as an investment manager at Seven Investment Management in London. “We’re not looking long-term, we’re looking at how this most recent data point is going to affect the December meetings. But if we move sideways through the last weeks to the end of the year and end up here, the market will be up about 10 percent for the year.”

Portuguese stocks were among the worst performers in western Europe. The PSI 20 Index slid as much as 2.3 percent, before paring losses to 0.3 percent, as an alliance of opposition parties prepares to vote Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s government out of power, threatening to prolong political instability in the nation.

Greece’s ASE Index lost the most, falling 1.7 percent, as Alpha Bank AE, Piraeus Bank SA and Eurobank Ergasias SA tumbled at least 17 percent.

Ericsson AB dropped 6.2 percent after predicting slower growth for the wireless-networking market. Delta Lloyd NV declined 13 percent to its lowest price since at least 2009 after saying shareholders’ funds decreased. Julius Baer Group Ltd. fell 2.7 percent after Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager said its gross margin narrowed. Vallourec SA tumbled 10 percent after the producer of steel pipes for the oil-and-gas industry posted a higher-than-forecast third-quarter loss.

A gauge of telecommunication companies posted the best performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600. Vodafone Group Plc added 3.9 percent after reporting better-than-expected service revenue. Royal KPN NV climbed 3.1 percent after saying it sold shares in Telefonica Deutschland Holding AG. The German company slid 2.6 percent.

National Grid Plc added 1.5 percent after the U.K. company said it started a process to sell a majority stake in its domestic gas grid.

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