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Europe: Stocks end steady as commodity stocks weigh

[LONDON] European shares ended little changed on Tuesday as losses among commodity stocks more than offset initial gains due to a series of well-received trading updates.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended flat, while euro zone stocks added 0.3 per cent as the euro gave up some of its strength against the dollar.

Fashion house Hugo Boss was among the biggest gainers in Europe, up 3.7 per cent, after it reported a rebound in growth at its own stores, a jump in online sales and a recovery in the United States.

"This confirms our view that the group's implemented restructuring and self-help measures are showing gradual operating improvements and this is leading to better momentum,"Baader Helvea analysts said.

Peugeot-brand owner PSA Group rose 1.8 per cent after reporting a 15.4 per cent jump in worldwide sales for 2017.

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Engie also gained, rising 1.2 per cent after the French utility said it hoped to improve earnings growth in its core businesses of renewable energy, grids and energy services this year. Core earnings rose an estimated 5 per cent in 2017.

UK midcap JD Sports Fashion jumped 6.7 per cent after Britain's largest sportswear retailer by market value forecast annual pretax profit ahead of market expectations.

Provident financial however fell 12.6 per cent after it said it expected to report a loss of about 120 million pounds (S$219.2 million) at its consumer credit division - the upper end of its guidance.

Elsewhere among financials, Deutsche Bank lost 0.8 per cent after it was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to rig a Canadian benchmark rate. Deutsche Bank declined to comment on Monday.

Germany's Continental added 1.1 per cent after sources told Reuters the auto parts maker had hired JP Morgan to advise on a possible break-up.

GKN rose about 1 per cent as it faces continued pressure from activist fund Elliott to engage with its would-be suitor Melrose.

Among sectors, miners and oil stocks both fell 1.4 and 1 per cent respectively, leading sectoral losers in Europe as metal prices eased on profit-taking and crude prices pulled back from 3-year highs.

Among regional indexes, Milan's FTMIB fell 0.2 per cent following a nine-day winning streak.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was at the bottom of the index, down 4.2 per cent after the company's chief executive said he had no intention of breaking up the company.


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