Europe Stocks Little Changed as Miners Decline, Unilever Jumps

European stocks ended the session little changed as losses in miners and energy shares offset positive earnings reports and a rally in Unilever NV.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost less than 0.1 percent at the close, halting a three-day rally that had pushed the gauge to a 14-month high. Miners slid the most in three weeks after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts said investors need to see proof of demand and shrinking stockpiles to support the recent rally in commodity prices. Unilever climbed 5.7 percent in London after vowing to boost shareholder returns with a strategic review that might point to a breakup of the consumer-goods giant.

  • Among shares rising after corporate results, Lloyds Banking Group Plc advanced 4.4 percent after reporting a surprise profit increase and boosting its dividend. UBM Plc added 4.5 percent after forecasting higher underlying revenue growth in 2017
  • Germany’s DAX Index added 0.3 percent, just shy of the 12,000 level it last closed above in April 2015.
  • Signs of stronger economic activity in the euro area and earnings reports had boosted European shares in recent sessions, notwithstanding concern over France’s upcoming election. The Stoxx 600 rose as much as 0.5 percent earlier today.
  • “Political concerns should prove temporary and we think the fundamental investment case for Europe remains intact, given the improving growth picture,” Morgan Stanley strategist Krupa Patel wrote in a note.
  • Bankhaus Lampe equity strategist Ralf Zimmerman recommends raising cash levels or buying protection against share moves ahead of France’s election. He forecast in a note the Euro Stoxx 50 Index could drop as much as 20 percent if Marine Le Pen wins.

— With assistance by Elena Popina

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