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European stock indexes decline after Bernanke’s testimony

europeanstockEuropean stocks were little changed, as the main benchmark is heading to a session of loss, as China scrapped a lower limit on lending rates, in a compliance with losses in technology shares. U.S. futures were little changed, while Asian shares dropped.

The Stoxx 600 fell less than 0.3% to 299.92 at 1:10 p.m. in London. The Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank remains flexible on the pace of asset purchases. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures was little changed today. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.4%.

“In China, it’s positive that rates will be allowed to form independently,” Espen Furnes, fund manager at Storebrand Asset Management in Oslo, said for Bloomberg. “This is a small move towards becoming more investor-oriented in their financial markets. We are seeing some weakness among technology stocks in Europe and Asia after the results from Microsoft and Google.”

U.K. stocks retreated from their highest level in seven weeks, braking the FTSE 100 (UKX) Index’s fourth consecutive weekly gain, as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. posted worse-than-projected earnings. The FTSE 100 declined 0.5%, to 6,604.06 at 2:45 p.m. in London. The gauge has still advanced 0.9% this week. The FTSE All-Share Index lost 0.4% today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.4%.

In European corporate news, ARM Holdings Plc sank 2.7%, leading the fall of European technology companies before company publishes half-year results next week. IMI Plc gained 2.6% as Citigroup Inc. listed the engineering company among its most preferred stocks.

Fresnillo Plc, the gold and silver producer declined 2.5% to 1,005 pence after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reduced its ratings on the company to “sell” from “neutral”. The brokerage has reduced its price forecasts for precious metals. It also said that operating costs for the company have risen.

U.K. banks lost share price, with HSBC Holdings Plc sliding 0.9% to 734.6 pence. Investec Plc lowered its rating on the FTSE 100’s heaviest stock to “hold” from “buy”. The stock’s price doesnt reflect potential analyst cuts to net-interest margin and income forecasts, according to Investec.

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