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04.04.2012 18:41

European stocks close:

 

European stocks fell for a second day after Spain sold fewer bonds than its maximum target and the Federal Reserve damped expectations of more monetary stimulus for the U.S.

Spain sold 2.6 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of bonds, near the minimum target, and borrowing costs rose in its first auction since the country said public debt will surge to a record this year. The Treasury had set a range of 2.5 billion euros to 3.5 billion euros for the sale.

The European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 1 percent. The euro-area’s economic outlook remains subject to “downside risks,” President Mario Draghi said at a press conference in Frankfurt.

Euro-area retail sales declined 0.1 percent from January, when they rose a revised 1.1 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted for a second month in March. A composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries dropped to 49.1 from 49.3 in February, London-based Markit Economics said today. That’s above an initial estimate of 48.7 on March 22. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. In Germany, factory orders rose 0.3 percent in February, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today.

National benchmark indexes fell in all of the 18 western European markets, led by Sweden’s OMX 30 Index, which tumbled 3.6 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index dropped 2.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slipped 2.5 percent and Germany’s DAX Index retreated 3 percent.

Volvo lost 4.8 percent to 93.65 kronor after ACT Research said preliminary Class 8 truck orders in North America for March were 20,000 units, the second consecutive month that orders came in “below expectations.”

U.S. sales of cars and light trucks rose to a 14.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, falling short of the 14.5 million median estimate of analysts.

Peugeot SA plunged 5.6 percent to 10.80 euros, Renault SA slipped 4.5 percent to 37.27 euros, and Porsche SE retreated 2.3 percent to 43.50 euros.

BTG gained 2.6 percent to 347.10 pence after the company said sales for the year ended March 31 would reach as much as 195 million pounds ($309 million), more than previously forecast, because of higher-than-expected royalties from two drugs.

Ferrovial SA, Spain’s largest builder by market value, added 2.2 percent to 8.41 euros after Bank of America reiterated its buy recommendation on the shares and said Spain’s new tax rules won’t hurt the company.

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