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European stocks fell the most in two weeks as the European Commission cut its growth forecast for the region and concern over an impending fiscal crisis in the U.S. increased after the re-election of President Barack Obama.
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) slumped the most in six months after predicting that its annual output will be at the bottom of its target. Holcim Ltd. (HOLN), the world’s largest cement maker, slid 2.4 percent as earnings missed analysts’ estimates. BNP Paribas SA jumped 1.1 percent after third-quarter net income more than doubled. Hochtief AG (HOT) advanced 3.1 percent after reiterating full-year profit targets.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) declined 1.4 percent to 271.04 at the close of trading, erasing an earlier gain of as much as 0.7 percent.
Brussels-based European Commission today projected the 17- nation euro economy will expand 0.1 percent in 2013, down from a May forecast of 1 percent. It cut the estimate for Germany, Europe’s largest economy, to 0.8 percent from 1.7 percent.
National benchmark indexes declined in all of the 18 western European markets today except Denmark.
FTSE 100 5,791.63 -93.27 -1.58% CAC 40 3,409.59 -69.07 -1.99% DAX 7,232.83 -144.93 -1.96%
In the euro area, September retail sales decreased more than economists estimated, a report showed today. Sales fell 0.2 percent from August, when they rose 0.2 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said. Economists had forecast a decline of 0.1 percent.
Rhoen-Klinikum AG (RHK) fell 5 percent to 14.53 euros after the hospital operator said profit this year will be hurt by lower revenue at two hospitals and costs from Fresenius SE’s failed takeover bid. The company already cut its earnings forecast in July.
William Demant Holding A/S (WDH) declined 5.1 percent to 468.80 kroner, the lowest price in nine months. The Nordic region’s largest maker of hearings aids cut its 2012 profit forecast. The company now sees earnings before interest and taxes “on par with or just short of” the 2011 level, compared with its earlier guidance for an increase.
Hochtief added 3.1 percent to 39.77 euros, its biggest gain in three weeks. Germany’s largest builder reiterated its full- year profit targets and reported a third-quarter pretax profit of 354.7 million euros, compared with a loss of 101.6 million euros a year earlier.
Alstom SA (ALO) advanced 1.4 percent to 27.98 euros. The French maker of power equipment and high-speed trains reported first- half earnings that beat analysts’ estimates on higher sales and orders for trains. Income from operations in the six months ended Sept. 30 rose 12 percent to 703 million euros, the company said. That exceeded the 689 million-euro average of analyst. Net income rose 11 percent to 403 million euros, also beating forecasts.
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