European stocks near seven-week high

Royal Philips Electronics rises for an eighth straight day after saying profit jumped 30 per cent

European stocks were little changed near a seven-week high for the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Photo: Bloomberg

European stocks were little changed near a seven-week high for the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Photo: Bloomberg

Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 10:02

European stocks were little changed near a seven-week high for the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

US index futures were also little changed, while shares in Asia climbed.

UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, rose to a two-year high after posting preliminary second-quarter results.

Royal Philips Electronics gained for an eighth straight day as the Dutch maker of LED lighting and electric toothbrushes said profit jumped 30 per cent.

The Stoxx 600 slipped 0.1 per cent to 299.53 at 8.17am in London.

The gauge increased 1.2 per cent last week amid better- than-forecast economic data from China and assurances from the Federal Reserve that its stimulus program remains flexible.

Standard and Poor’s 500 Index futures declined less than 0.1 per cent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.5 per cent.

“This week investors and traders are likely to focus more heavily on earnings and outside influences,” Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, wrote in a note.

“Sighs of relief can be heard all round; with the Fed having been so influential on price action, it’s welcome to focus on more traditional fundamentals. Earnings seem to be going without too much of a hiccup.”

Companies from Apple to Ford are set to post earnings in the US this week, after about 73 per cent of SandP 500 members that have reported second-quarter results so far topped analyst estimates, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

McDonald’s, Halliburton and Texas Instruments are among companies reporting today.

UBS advanced 2.7 per cent to 18.09 Swiss francs, the highest since March 2011, after the bank reported second-quarter net income of 690 million francs (€557.7 million).

The company also said it reached an agreement in principle with the US Federal Housing Finance Agency to settle claims related to residential mortgage-backed securities offerings between 2004 and 2007.

Philips added 2.7 per cent to €24.05 after saying earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and one-time items amounted to €530 million, compared with €408 million a year earlier.

Julius Baer rallied 4.7 per cent to 41.64 francs even after posting a 30 per cent drop in first-half profit.

Switzerland’s third-biggest wealth manager said net income fell to 114 million francs as raised it the estimate of the cost of integrating the Merrill Lynch businesses acquired from Bank of America.

Bloomberg