BRUSSELS (Alliance News) - European stocks wobbled on Wednesday, taking a break after recent gains brought on by talk of stimulus from the European Central Bank.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks was down 0.08%, unable to break above multi-year highs, as a late rally from steeper mid-day losses ran out of steam before the final bell.
The benchmark indexes in Germany, France and the UK were virtually unchanged, just a few points from yesterday's closing levels.
There were few catalysts to drive trading today, leaving investors to worry about the conflict in Ukraine.
Nestle shares are moved up 0.6%. The Swiss foods giant announced that it has agreed to buy the rights to several dermatology products from Canada'sValeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. for USD1.4 billion in cash.
GlaxoSmithKline PLC shares were down 1.5% in London after the Serious Fraud Office of Britain launched a formal criminal investigation into its sales practices.
British lender Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. rose 1.2% on reports it plans to cut up to 400 jobs in its US trading business over the next two years as part of its efforts to reduce its assets ahead of tough new US regulations.
French telecom major Orange SA, previously known as France Telecom, gained 0.1% in Paris after the company appointed Ramon Fernandez as the company's deputy chief executive officer and chief financial officer.
Osram Licht AG is tumbled 4.3% in Frankfurt. The maker of lamps, lighting systems, and electronic control gears said that it is adjusting its revenue expectation against the background of an accelerated decline in the traditional general illumination business in the current fiscal year.
Ahold NV shares lost 3.5% in Amsterdam. The supermarket chain reported a sharp decline in first-quarter profit, mainly due to the absence of prior-year's divestment gain.
Shares of Elekta publ AB plunged 9% in Stockholm after the Swedish medical instruments maker reported lower earnings in its fiscal year 2014, despite growth in sales.
In economic news, German unemployment increased for the first time in six months in May, but the labor office said it is largely due to weather related factors. The number of people out of work increased by around 24,000 to 2.91 million in May, the Federal Labor Agency reported. This was the first increase in six months and confounded expectations for a decline of 15,000.
British retail sales increased for the sixth straight month in May, but at a slower pace than in April, while Eurozone economic sentiment improved more than expected in May, driven by higher confidence among consumers and industry managers, separate reports showed. The economic sentiment index rose to 102.7 from 102 in April, the European Commission said.