European Stocks Little Changed as Investors Weigh Greece Outcome

European stocks were little changed, after swinging between gains and losses, as investors weighed the possibility of a successful outcome to last-ditch Greek talks.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.1 percent to 396.85 at the close of trading. Shares erased a decline of as much as 0.8 percent after an official said Greece’s creditors proposed a five-month extension to the aid program and 15.5 billion euros ($ 17.4 billion) in disbursements to help seal a debt agreement. The gauge then pared gains of as much as 0.5 percent when Athens News Agency reported the Greek government rejected the offer.

The benchmark European equity gauge posted a 2.9 percent weekly gain, leaving it down 0.1 percent in the quarter. Greece’s ASE Index rose 2 percent on Friday, the best performer among western-European markets.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande Friday, while finance ministers prepare to reconvene Saturday in a last-ditch attempt to thrash out an agreement. Greece owes the International Monetary Fund 1.5 billion euros at the end of the month.

Among shares active on corporate news, K+S AG soared 30 percent. People familiar with the matter said the German potash supplier may reject as too low a takeover offer from Canadian fertilizer producer Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.

Tesco Plc added 2.7 percent after the U.K.’s biggest supermarket chain posted a smaller-than-forecast decline in quarterly sales. J Sainsbury Plc rose 0.7 percent and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc gained 0.6 percent.

Commodity producers fell the most among 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600. Anglo American Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. lost at least 2.5 percent.

ARM Holdings Plc dropped 5.1 percent after Sanford C. Bernstein cut its rating on the chip designer to underperform, similar to sell. Petrofac Ltd. declined 2.3 percent after Deutsche Bank AG recommended investors sell shares of the builder and operator of oil and gas facilities.

Source : Bloomberg


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