Europe: Stocks little changed at highest level since July 2007

[FRANKFURT] European stocks were little changed after a fourth weekly rally pushed equities to the highest level in more than seven years, as investors focus on economic reports to gauge the strength of the region's economy.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose less than 0.1 per cent to 392.27 at 8:06 am in London. The equity benchmark advanced 2.6 per cent last week, extending its February gain to 6.4 per cent, amid better-than-expected financial results from companies including Airbus Group NV, and US consumer sentiment data.

The Stoxx 600 has rallied 14 per cent in 2015, its best-ever start to a year, as Greece reached a bailout deal and the European Central Bank announced quantitative easing.

Investors will watch economic reports on Monday, with the euro area updating on consumer prices, while the US releases private income and spending data. A report on US manufacturing is also due, along with factory gauges across the euro region.

Futures on the Nasdaq 100 Index rose 0.2 per cent. The Nasdaq Composite Index on Friday capped its biggest monthly advance since January 2012. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.1 per cent after Chinese policy makers cut interest rates for the second time in three months to spur growth.

Among stocks moving on corporate news, Vivendi SA slid 5.4 per cent. The French conglomerate that's refocusing on media businesses said it plans to return about 5.7 billion euros (US$6.4 billion) to investors after selling more than US$30 billion of assets.

A gauge of energy stocks fell from a three-month high, as oil prices declined after Opec output exceeded its quota for a ninth month in February.


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