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European (SXXP) stocks declined from a 4 1/2-year high, as European Union leaders eased constraints on national budgets amid a deepening euro-area recession, while confidence among American consumers unexpectedly slid in March.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.4 percent to 297.46 at the close of trading. The gauge added 0.7 percent this week, for a fourth straight weekly advance, its longest winning streak since December.
National benchmark indexes fell in all of the western European markets except Switzerland.
FTSE 100 6,489.65 -39.76 -0.61% CAC 40 3,844.03 -27.55 -0.71% DAX 8,042.85 -15.52 -0.19%
In the U.S., the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary sentiment index for March fell to 71.8 from 77.6 in February. The gauge was projected to increase to 78, according to the median estimate of economists.
Volkswagen’s preferred shares declined 2.6 percent to 160.30 euros. Waddell & Reed sold 914 million euros ($1.19 billion) of the stocks, after they touched a four-month low yesterday on the carmaker’s 2013 outlook. The 5.78 million shares were sold for 158 euros each, a 4 percent discount to yesterday’s close, Deutsche Bank AG said.
Vivendi (VIV) lost 3.3 percent to 16.10 euros. The company halted the planned sale of GVT after failing to get a satisfactory bid for the division, which had been valued at 5.2 billion euros.
Ingenico, a French provider of payment terminals and services, declined 2.9 percent to 44.64 euros. Safran’s Morpho will sell 6.6 million Ingenico shares, or a 12.57 percent stake, in a private placement, while retaining a 10.2 percent stake.
Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna Scarl jumped 10 percent to 6.01 euros. Exane BNP Paribas raised its target price for the shares by 5 percent to 8.30 euros, citing the benefits of the bank’s funding structure, which is based on retail deposits.
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