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Europe stocks little changed after weekly loss as Allianz climbs

[FRANKFURT] European stocks were little changed in thin trading as insurers advanced and banks declined, after the Stoxx Europe 600 Index ended last week at its lowest level in more than two weeks.

Allianz SE led gains on Germany's DAX Index after reporting a 21 per cent jump in quarterly profit. Automakers climbed, with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV rising 1.6 per cent after Chairman Sergio Marchionne said he was more positive on the outlook for China.

Italian lenders led banks lower after private investors snubbed an initial public offering by Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA.

Deutsche Bank AG lost 3.2 per cent after UK regulators were said to have faulted the lender in March for "serious" lapses in efforts to thwart money laundering.

The Stoxx 600 fell 0.1 per cent to 341.14 at 4:30 pm in London, after fluctuating between gains and losses. The volume of shares changing hands was 59 per cent below the 30-day average as UK markets were closed for a holiday. The DAX rose 0.7 per cent, for the biggest advance among western-European markets.

"With the holiday in the UK, the market today is rather quiet," said Guillermo Hernandez Sampere, head of trading at MPPM EK in Eppstein, Germany.

"As long as uncertainty remains in the market, we need to count on a certain level of restraint. Still, compared to January and February, index levels are actually quite comfortable. Companies this week will offer a lot more input in terms of investment decisions."

The Stoxx capped its biggest weekly drop since February on Friday as a stronger euro and mixed earnings prompted investors to reassess progress. The measure still added 1.2 per cent in April. It trades at about 15 times estimated profit, which is 17 per cent above the average multiple for the past five years.

HSBC Holdings Plc, BMW AG and UBS Group AG are among those posting earnings this week. With the reporting season well under way, analysts have slashed estimates for the year. They project profit at Stoxx 600 companies will slide 2.9 per cent in 2016, before growing at a double-digit pace in each of the next three years.

Energy stocks slid Monday, with oil dropping for a second day amid news that Iraq's exports approached a record high in April exacerbated investors concerns about a a global supply glut.

Among other active shares, Infineon Technologies AG rose 2.7 per cent as Baader Bank AG analyst Guenther Hollfelder said that it could benefit from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 1.2 billion euro electric-car subsidy program.

BLOOMBERG