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08.10.2012 17:23

European stocks close:

European stocks dropped the most this month as the World Bank cut its East Asian growth forecast and investors awaited a meeting of euro-area finance ministers for signs on how they will tackle the debt crisis.

Cookson Group Plc (CKSN) sank 12 percent as the world’s biggest maker of ceramic linings for metal smelters said annual results will miss its forecasts. KBC Groep NV (KBC) retreated 5.2 percent as the bank’s strategy update disappointed investors. Eurobank Ergasias SA advanced 5.1 percent after a takeover offer from National Bank of Greece SA. (ETE)

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) lost 1 percent to 271.43 at the close of trading, the largest decline since Sept. 28.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) retreated 0.6 percent on the first day of trading after a weeklong holiday amid concern the deepening economic slowdown will hurt profits and as money-market rates rose the most in a month.

The World Bank said growth in developing East Asia, which excludes Japan and India, will probably ease to 7.2 percent this year from 8.3 percent in 2011. That is the slowest pace since 2001, according to World Bank data, and lower than a forecast in May of 7.6 percent.

National benchmark indexes declined in all of the 18 western European markets, except Iceland.

FTSE 100 5,840.16 -30.86 -0.53% CAC 40 3,407.88 -49.16 -1.42% DAX 7,292.27 -105.60 -1.43

German industrial production declined in August as the debt crisis damped economic growth and prompted companies to scale back investment. Production fell 0.5 percent from July, when it gained 1.2 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today.

Cookson tumbled 12 percent to 539 pence, the largest drop since February 2009. The company said full-year results will be “materially” lower than forecast after the Engineered Ceramics division’s third-quarter performance was weaker than expected.

KBC slid 5.2 percent to 19.61 euros as Belgium’s biggest bank and insurer by market value said it plans to reduce operating expenses as a proportion of revenue to 55 percent by 2015. The shares have still more than doubled this year.

Eurobank advanced 5.1 percent to 1.23 euros, the highest since February, after National Bank of Greece offered to acquire its domestic rival as Greece’s debt crisis forces a wave of mergers. National Bank rallied 5.7 percent to 2.21 euros.

Imperial Tobacco Group Plc (IMT) slipped 2.4 percent to 2,314 pence, the biggest drop in a month, as Nomura Holdings Inc. downgraded the maker of West and Davidoff cigarettes to reduce from neutral.

JCDecaux SA (DEC), a French outdoor advertising company, retreated 4.1 percent to 17.50 euros. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its recommendation on the stock to sell from buy and added the shares to its “conviction sell” list.

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