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Europe: Stocks cap best monthly advance in five amid earnings


[LONDON] European stocks were little changed amid earnings reports, completing their biggest monthly rally since February.

Miners and energy companies fell as commodities extended a monthly plunge. Spain's CaixaBank SA dropped 2.4 per cent after cutting its net interest income growth forecast for 2015. BNP Paribas SA climbed 2.9 per cent as France's largest bank swung to its biggest quarterly profit in more than three years.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained less than 0.1 per cent to 396.37 at the close of trading. It has advanced 4 per cent this month, rebounding from a low as concern faded that Greece will leave the euro. Surging profit at companies including Deutsche Bank AG and PSA Peugeot Citroen and a flurry of deals announcements pushed the Stoxx 600 up 2.7 per cent since July 27.

"Investors are digesting the earnings and some days you can get good and bad news," said Jacques Porta, a fund manager who helps oversee 500 million eurosat Ofi Gestion Privee in Paris. "Overall the earnings season has been of a good quality. Some sectors are doing badly, such as commodity producers because the Chinese economy is weak, and the energy sector is declining. Soon it will be interesting to go there because they're getting very cheap."

Energy producers fell 0.9 per cent for the biggest decline among industry groups in the Stoxx 600. A gauge of miners dropped 0.5 per cent. Vallourec SA lost 6.3 per cent after the steelmaker said the rest of 2015 will be difficult. Antofagasta Plc slid 2.3 per cent after agreeing to buy a 50 per cent interest in a copper mine from Barrick Gold Corp.

InterContinental Hotels Group Plc fell 1.6 per cent after saying it isn't in merger talks with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. Volkswagen AG slid 1.4 per cent after a court order to pay MAN SE minority shareholders more an earlier offer, adding to the cost of gaining full control of the German truckmaker.

Airbus Group SE rose 3.5 per cent after posting an increase in earnings on higher deliveries of civil airliners. ArcelorMittal gained 1.5 per cent after reporting profit that beat analysts' estimates.

ITV Plc climbed 3.4 per cent after Liberty Global Plc increased its stake in the U.K. broadcaster to 9.9 per cent. Mediobanca SpA rose 3.1 per cent after saying it's considering a takeover bid for Cairn Capital.

Austrian shares began trading late because Vienna's stock exchange had problems with its data distribution system.

The rebound in the Stoxx 600 this month sent the gauge up 16 per cent for the year. The VStoxx Index, a measure tracking fear in the equity market, has plunged a record 40 per cent in July.