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Saturday 24.02.2018 | Name days: Diāna, Dina, Dins

European stocks little changed before Bank of England

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European stocks were little changed near their highest level since June 2008 as investors awaited the Bank of England’s decision on continuing economic stimulus.

Author: REUTERS/SCANPIXSnam SpA (SRG) dropped to a four-week low as Eni SpA sold an 11.7 percent stake in the owner of Italy’s biggest natural-gas network. Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc lost the most in a month as first-quarter sales fell. Experian (EXPN) Plc jumped to a record after raising its dividend and announcing a share buyback, Bloomberg reported.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost less than 0.1 percent to 303.52 at 11:31 a.m. in London. The benchmark gauge advanced yesterday amid better-than-estimated corporate earnings and has gained 8.5 percent so far in 2013, its best start to a year since 2006. Contracts on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated less than 0.1 percent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.3 percent.

Markets in Switzerland, the Nordic countries and Austria are closed today for Ascension Day. Most businesses closed today in Germany for the holiday.

‘It’s a holiday in Germany and I think that’s the reason why European markets are unchanged or in a trading range for today,’’ said Andreas Lipkow, a senior market strategist at Kliegel & Hafner AG in Berlin.

The BOE’s Monetary Policy Committee will leave the target for bond purchases at 375 billion pounds ($583 billion), according to all but one of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The bank will also keep its key interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent, according to all 52 economists in a separate poll. Minutes of the decision, showing how officials voted, will be published May 22.

U.K. industrial production rose more than economists forecast in March as cold weather boosted demand for electricity and gas. Output increased 0.7 percent from February, when it gained 0.9 percent, the Office for National Statistics said in London. The median forecast of 31 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 0.2 percent advance.

In the euro area, Spain beat its maximum target at a bond auction in Madrid today and its borrowing costs fell. The Spanish Treasury sold 4.57 billion euros of debt ($6 billion), compared with its maximum target of 4.5 billion euros, the Bank of Spain said.

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