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European stocks declined as Bank of England policy maker Adam Posen ended his support for more stimulus and bad loans surged in Spain.
Posen ended his push for further Bank of England stimulus, joining the majority of the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee in seeking no change to the 325 billion-pound ($517 billion) asset-purchase target, according to minutes of their April 4-5 meeting published today in London.
Non-performing loans for Spanish banks as a proportion of total lending jumped to 8.16 percent in February, the highest level since 1994, from less than 1 percent in 2007, according to Bank of Spain data. The total credit in the economy that the regulator lists as “doubtful” reached 143.8 billion euros.
National benchmark indexes fell in 15 of the 18 western- European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index declined 1.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.4 percent. Germany’s DAX Index lost 1 percent. Spain’s IBEX 35 Index retreated 4 percent to its lowest since March 2009.
Santander, Spain’s largest bank, dropped 4 percent to 4.81 euros. Banco Popular Espanol SA fell 3.2 percent to 2.39 euros. CaixaBank slid 3.5 percent to 2.60 euros. A gauge of European bank shares was the second-worst performer of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600.
Repsol dropped 6.2 percent to 15.40 euros. Argentina rejected its demand for $10.5 billion in compensation after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner seized its YPF SA unit, saying it hasn’t invested enough in the South American country.
Iberdrola dropped 7.9 percent to 3.59 euros, its lowest since November 2003, after Actividades de Construccion & Servicios SA sold a 3.7 percent stake in Spain’s biggest power company to cut debt. ACS tumbled 6.1 percent to 16.45 euros as it said the stake sale will reduce its earnings by 540 million euros.
Statoil Fuel & Retail soared 51 percent to 52.60 kroner. Alimentation Couche-Tard offered to buy the company for 53 kroner per share, valuing it at 15.9 billion kroner ($2.8 billion). The offer represents a 53 percent premium for Scandinavia’s biggest gas-station operator, the Laval, Canada- based company said in a statement today. Statoil ASA (STL), Norway’s biggest oil producer, has agreed to sell its 54 percent stake in the company.
BHP Billiton added 0.9 percent to 1,943 pence, gaining for a third day. The world’s largest mining company said third- quarter iron ore production rose 14 percent as it expands its mines and port in Australia.
Heineken NV advanced 2.5 percent to 43.35 euros after reporting first-quarter revenue of 3.83 billion euros, beating analysts’ estimates of 3.74 billion euros.
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