London Stock Exchange
European stocks were little changed as Lafarge SA (LG) targeted cost savings, offsetting concern that Spain’s request for bailout funds won’t stop the euro area’s sovereign-debt crisis. U.S. index futures climbed, while Asian shares retreated.
Lafarge climbed 1.1 percent after the world’s largest cement maker said that it targets a return on capital of more than 8 percent in 2015.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) gained 0.1 percent to 242.23 at 9:08 a.m. in London. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in September added 0.4 percent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.7 percent.
“Investors are trying not to make too many bets at the moment,” said Bruno Ducros, a fund manager at CamGestion in Paris, which oversees about $4 billion in stocks. “Authorities are trying to do what they can to address the debt crisis. They are trying to find solutions.”
The Stoxx 600 Index erased a gain of as much as 1.9 percent to close unchanged as optimism faded that the 100 billion euro ($125 billion) bank bailout for Spain would contain the crisis. The gauge has retreated 11 percent from its high this year on March 16.
Spanish bond yields surged the most in four months yesterday in the first trading after the government in Madrid sought a bailout for its banks. The yield on Spain’s 10-year bonds rose to 6.51 percent, the biggest jump since January and approaching its euro-era record of 6.78 percent on Nov. 17. The move followed a rally that lasted about four hours.
Fitch Ratings Managing Director Ed Parker said that Spain’s government will miss its budget-deficit targets for this year and next. Parker spoke at an event in Oslo today.
Italy plans to auction at least 9.5 billion euros of debt this week, while an election on June 17 may determine whether Greece remains in the euro.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and European Central Bank policy maker Joerg Asmussen will speak in Berlin today about the debt crisis.
Lafarge advanced 1.1 percent to 31 euros after saying that it expects to generate at least 1.75 billion euros in earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation for the four years from 2012 through 2015. The company said it will achieve its forecast through cost cuts and an increase in earnings.
Remy Cointreau SA (RCO) gained 0.9 percent to 82.10 euros as France’s second-biggest distiller said full-year operating profit excluding one-off items rose 24 percent to 208 million euros. That compared with the 203 million-euro average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Lagardere SCA (MMB) slipped 1.1 percent to 19.11 euros. France’s largest publishing company lowered its advertising revenue target for its media business for this year. The company retained its outlook for earnings before interest and taxes at the unit. Lagardere forecast that media-advertising sales will fall 3 percent to 5 percent. It had predicted flat revenue growth for the year.
Bankinter SA (BKT) led shares of lenders lower. Bankinter lost 3.2 percent to 2.42 euros.
The volume of shares changing hands on the Stoxx 600 was 23 percent higher than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.