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29.08.2012 17:30

European stocks close:

European stocks fell for a second day as companies from L’Oreal SA to Bouygues SA (EN) retreated after reporting earnings and German Chancellor Angela Merkel clashed with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti over whether to give the euro area’s permanent bailout fund a bank license.

L’Oreal dropped the most in 2 1/2 years after the world’s largest cosmetics maker reported profit margins that missed estimates. Bouygues, the French building, television and telecommunications company, tumbled 9 percent after trimming the earnings forecast for its phone business. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA plunged 8 percent after posting a loss.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) slipped 0.1 percent to 267.01.

Bernanke will deliver his annual speech at the Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium on Aug. 31. His address in 2010 preceded a second round of bond purchasing, or quantitative easing, to help support the economic recovery. Draghi canceled his trip to Jackson Hole yesterday, reducing speculation ECB policy makers will unveil new measures to support the economy before their Sept. 6 meeting. Draghi announced on Aug. 2 that the central bank may resume bond purchases if distressed governments ask for aid from the region’s bailout funds.

National benchmark indexes retreated in 11 of the 18 western-European markets today.

FTSE 100 5,743.53 -32.18 -0.56% CAC 40 3,413.89 -17.66 -0.51% DAX 7,010.57 +7.89 +0.11%

In the U.S., the Commerce Department’s first revision to second-quarter gross domestic product showed a gain of 1.7 percent compared with an initially reported 1.5 percent increase, matching the median forecast in survey of economists. Data from the National Association of Realtors showed U.S. pending home sales rose 2.4 percent in July from June, when they declined 1.4 percent. That was higher than the 1 percent increase forecast in a survey of economists.

L’Oreal (OR) lost 4.4 percent to 96.58 euros, the biggest drop since February 2010, as gross profit as a percentage of sales narrowed to 71 percent in the six months ended June 30 from 71.5 percent a year earlier. That was less than the 71.9 percent average estimate of analysts.

Bouygues SA sank 9 percent to 19.95 euros, the largest decline since December 2008. The French building, television and telecommunications company trimmed its 2012 earnings forecast for its phone business as it cut prices and lost customers to new entrant Iliad SA.

France Telecom SA (FTE) and Vivendi SA (VIV), which also operate French mobile-phone networks, slipped 2.3 percent to 11.06 euros and 2.1 percent to 15.17 euros, respectively.

Monte Paschi (BMPS) retreated 8 percent to 22.4 euro cents in Milan, the biggest decline since Aug. 2. Italy’s third-biggest bank posted a 1.67 billion-euro second-quarter loss after a goodwill writedown.

Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI), eastern Europe’s second- biggest lender, slid 5.1 percent to 26.47 euros after net income plummeted 54 percent in the second quarter as lending revenue shrank and bad debt writedowns increased.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) dropped 4.6 percent to 38.34 kroner. Temenos Group AG (TEMN), which was also cut from the gauge, slid 2.6 percent to 13.15 Swiss francs.

Novozymes A/S (NZYMB), the world’s biggest maker of enzymes, rose 2.8 percent to 164.70 kroner after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

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