European stocks were little changed, heading for a third month of gains, as investors awaited a report on unemployment in the euro area. U.S. index futures rose, while Asian shares were little changed.
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA added 1.8 percent as Italy’s third-largest lender set out a plan to return to profit after cutting costs and raising capital as part of its restructuring plan. Speedy Hire Plc, a U.K. construction-equipment leasing company, sank the most since 2009.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index were unchanged at 325.18 as of 8:52 a.m. in London, trading near their highest level since May 2008. The gauge has climbed 0.8 percent in November, its third consecutive monthly advance. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures rose 0.2 percent today following the Thanksgiving holiday yesterday. The U.S. stock market will close early at 1 p.m. New York time. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.1 percent.
“With the short trading day in the U.S. and the Thanksgiving holiday, volume is low and there aren’t many impulses for big moves before next week,” said Patrick Kraehenbuehl, a portfolio manager at Umblin AG in Zurich. “Sentiment is still very positive, with investors keeping an eye on economic data and many betting on a year-end rally.”
The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the Stoxx 600 was 8.2 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A Eurostat report at 11 a.m. in Luxembourg will probably show that euro-area unemployment remained unchanged at 12.2 percent, a record, in October, according to the median economist forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.
S&P raised its outlook for Spain’s debt to stable from negative, reducing the likelihood that the ratings company will cut the Mediterranean nation’s rating to junk. S&P affirmed Spain at BBB-, its lowest investment grade.
The ratings company raised its score for Cyprus to B- from CCC+. It lowered the Netherlands to AA+ from AAA, citing weaker growth prospects than previously forecast.
Monte Paschi (BMPS) rose 1.8 percent to 18.7 euro cents. The lender said it will target net income of 200 million euros ($272 million) in 2015 and 900 million euros in 2017 after losing 8,000 staff, selling 3 billion euros of new shares and shrinking its balance sheet by 25 percent. Monte Paschi’s plan, which received European Union approval on Nov. 27, would allow it to repay 4.1 billion euros of state aid by 2017.
Speedy Hire slumped 16 percent to 54 pence. The company said late yesterday that it had found accounting irregularities within its international business, which mostly operates in the Middle East. Steve Corcoran resigned as chief executive officer. He will stay with the company until it finds a successor, according to a statement.
C.A.T. Oil AG jumped 5.9 percent to 23.20 euros as third-quarter net income almost doubled to 17 million euros from 8.6 million euros a year earlier. The company also raised its revenue target to 420 million euros to 430 million euros this year from a previous forecast of 405 million euros to 425 million euros. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization may amount to 105 million euros to 110 million euros, the company said, compared with an earlier forecast of 95 million euros to 105 million euros.
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