Global stocks changed amid sum­mit

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

Global stocks were lit­tle changed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 In­dex near a 4 1/2year high, as Euro­pean Union lead­ers eased con­straints on na­tional bud­gets amid a deep­en­ing euro-area re­ces­sion. U.S. in­dex fu­tures were also lit­tle changed, while Asia shares rose.

Bwin.Party Dig­i­tal En­ter­tain­ment Plc posted the worst per­for­mance in the Stoxx 600 af­ter fore­cast­ing 2013 rev­enue lower than cur­rent mar­ket es­ti­mates. Vivendi SA ended a five-day rally af­ter halt­ing the planned sale of its Brazil­ian phone and In­ter­net unit, GVT. In­genico (ING) SA fell to its low­est in three weeks as Safran SA's Mor­pho plans to sell part of its stake. Ren­tokil (RTO) Ini­tial Plc surged af­ter say­ing 2012 fin­ished strongly.

An em­ployee leans on a glass wall above the main atrium of the Lon­don Stock Ex­change Group Plc's (LSE) head­quar­ters in Lon­don.

The Stoxx 600 fell 0.1 per­cent to 298.23 at 9:30 a.m. in Lon­don. The gauge is still head­ing for a 0.9 per­cent gain this week, on course for a fourth straight weekly ad­vance, its long­est win­ning streak since De­cem­ber. The bench­mark has risen 6.6 per­cent this year as data on U.S. pay­rolls and Chi­nese ex­ports bol­stered con­fi­dence in the global eco­nomic re­cov­ery and cen­tral banks around the world con­tin­ued stim­u­lus mea­sures.

"There still is ap­petite for stocks," said Guil­laume Duch­esne, an eq­uity strate­gist at BGL BNP Paribas SA in Lux­em­bourg. "But, af­ter the im­pres­sive per­for­mance of the past weeks and months, the rally is see­ing a bit of fa­tigue. U.S. eco­nomic fig­ures have been good, but there is the need for the mar­ket to take a pause. With the ex­piries to­day, it's best not to have any bad news."

Stock moves may be in­flu­enced by the ex­pi­ra­tion of fu­tures and op­tions con­tracts to­day, a process known as witch­ing. The vol­ume of Stoxx 600 shares chang­ing hands was 17 per­cent greater than the av­er­age of the past 30 days, ac­cord­ing to data

The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age ex­tended the long­est rally since 1996 yes­ter­day. Fu­tures on the Stan­dard & Poor's 500 In­dex lost 0.1 per­cent, while the MSCI Asia Pa­cific In­dex ad­vanced 0.5 per­cent.

Euro­pean Union lead­ers en­dorsed "struc­tural" bud­getary as­sess­ments, us­ing code for grant­ing coun­tries such as France, Spain and Por­tu­gal ex­tra time to bring down deficits. Still, balanced bud­gets re­mained the goal and there was no talk of large-scale spend­ing pro­grams or bond is­sues.

"If there is too much aus­ter­ity, there will be too much un­em­ploy­ment," French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande said at an EU sum­mit in Brus­sels late yes­ter­day. "Flex­i­bil­ity is nec­es­sary if we want to make growth the pri­or­ity."

Euro­pean po­lit­i­cal chiefs also paved the way for fi­nance min­is­ters to wran­gle a res­cue for Cyprus to­day as the euro area seeks progress to­ward a bailout that's been bat­ted about for nine months.

"I can't imag­ine that we'll let the week­end go by with­out re­solv­ing the Cyprus prob­lem," Lux­em­bourg Prime Min­is­ter Jean- Claude Juncker said early to­day af­ter euro lead­ers met mid­way through the two-day sum­mit in Brus­sels. EU gath­er­ing ends to­day with a 27-na­tion dis­cus­sion of for­eign pol­icy, to be fol­lowed by a euro-area min­is­ters' meet­ing.

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