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Europe Stocks Fluctuate as Investors Assess Earnings, Valuations

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European shares fluctuated, with investors assessing valuations and corporate earnings, as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index headed for its best week since 2011.

Standard Life Plc rose 1.4 percent after reporting better-than-expected full-year profit and disclosing a Solvency II ratio of 162 percent. Allianz SE slid 2.9 percent, dragging a gauge of insurance companies to the worst performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600, after reporting fourth-quarter profit that missed analyst estimates.

The Stoxx 600 added 0.1 percent to 329.24 at 9:10 a.m. in London, after rising as much as 0.3 percent and falling 0.6 percent. The equity benchmark is heading for a 5.4 percent gain this week, taking its advance since a 29-month low hit on Feb. 11 to 8.5 percent. The measure is still down 10 percent this year amid concerns ranging from global growth and the deepening oil slump, to the creditworthiness of lenders and dissipating faith in central-bank support.

European stocks late Thursday gave up almost all the gains they had built up earlier in the session, as investors sold shares most closely linked with economic growth. Capital Group Cos., the money manager with $1.4 trillion in assets, expects volatility to remain elevated amid a slowing global economy and uncertainty about central bank policies. Stoxx 600 members trade at about 14.5 times estimated earnings, down from a multiple of 16.7 in April.

Among other stocks moving on corporate news today, Ingenico Group SA tumbled 14 percent after JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded the French payments-processing company, saying its 2016 earnings-margin forecast is below the broker’s estimates.

Lenders, the most battered of European industries this year, rebounded with the biggest gains on the Stoxx 600 as KBC Groep NV and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA — among yesterday’s biggest decliners — rose more than 2.4 percent. Energy stocks also recovered, with BP Plc among the main gainers.

Source: Bloomberg