European Stocks Weakened

European stocks were little changed on Wednesday as the utility sector was hit by a profit warning from the Danish wind farm developer Orsted, while French grocery store Carrefour (PA: CARR) jumped after merger talks.

Carrefour gained 10.6 percent after Canadian supermarket operator Element Coach-Tard said it had contacted Europe’s largest retailer to discuss a merger.

The stock topped the list of winners on the French CAC 40 index, which rose 0.2 percent, while French casino retail shares jumped 6.4 percent.

Shares in Spanish telecom company (SE: 7010) Telefónica (MC: TEF) were among the biggest gainers, rising more than eight percent after it agreed to sell its cell phone towers in Europe and Latin America to the telecommunications infrastructure operator American Towers, which is based in The United States for 7.7 billion euros (9.41 billion dollars) in cash.

But the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose only 0.1% as it came under pressure from the utilities sector after Orsted fell 7.5% on a warning that a return to normal wind speeds this year would negatively affect operating profits.

The performance of the German DAX index remained tepid, as German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that his country would not be able to lift the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the Corona virus at the beginning of next February.