European stocks closed little changed near a seven-year high as losses in banks and auto companies countered Axa SA™s advance.
Greek lenders led a measure of bank stocks lower, with National Bank of Greece SA and Piraeus Bank SA tumbling more than 11 percent. Auto-related stocks posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index as Valeo SA slid 2.3 percent after missing estimates for full-year operating profit. Continental AG retreated 2.5 percent. Axa rose 2.6 percent after posting a 12 percent jump in annual profit.
The Stoxx 600 dropped 0.1 percent to 386.76 at the close of trading, paring earlier losses of as much as 0.4 percent. The equity gauge rose 0.6 percent on Tuesday, pushing its gains this year to 13 percent, as Greece reached a bailout deal and the Federal Reserve pledged patience on raising interest rates. The Greek ASE Index slid 1.6 percent today, for the biggest drop among 18 western-European markets.