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European stocks fell, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index heading for its biggest weekly decline in 13 months, as Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras lost one of his two coalition partners and investors weighed the outlook for Federal Reserve stimulus measures.
The Stoxx 600 declined 0.9 percent to 281.08 at 4:30 p.m. in London after earlier gaining as much as 1 percent. The equity benchmark is heading for its fifth weekly decline, the longest streak of losses in two years, as the Fed said it may end bond purchases next year if the economy strengthens in line with forecasts. The gauge has pared its yearly gain to 0.5 percent.
In Greece, the Democratic Left party withdrew its ministers from the coalition government amid disagreement over Samaras's decision to close the nation's public broadcaster. The departure of the party's 14 lawmakers would leave the premier with a parliamentary majority of only three seats.
Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said he believes Greece doesn't need new elections and will support efforts to keep the country in the euro, according to statement read out on Athens-based Skai TV.
National benchmark indexes fell in 14 of the 16 western European markets open today.
FTSE 100 6,116.17 -43.34 -0.70% CAC 40 3,658.04 -40.89 -1.11% DAX 7,789.24 -139.24 -1.76%
In China, benchmark money-market rates tumbled from record highs after the central bank injected funds to alleviate the worst cash crunch in at least a decade. The People's Bank of China added funds to the financial system via short-term liquidity operations yesterday, according to Hao Hong, chief China strategist at Bank of Communications Co. in Hong Kong.
European Union finance ministers meet today in Luxembourg to discuss proposals for bank supervision, focusing on laws for the resolution of failed banks.
The European Central Bank probably won't take over as euro-area bank supervisor until the end of 2014, in part because of German approval procedures, according to two European officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. This contrasts with an initial goal of moving to the new system in March, later pushed back to July.
National Bank of Greece fell 11 percent to 3.25 euros, while bookmaker OPAP SA decreased 5.2 percent to 6.35 euros.
SAP AG declined 2.9 percent to 54.99 euros. Oracle, the largest maker of database software, late yesterday posted quarterly sales that missed estimates and forecast profit for the current quarter at the lower end of analysts' projections.
Groupe Eurotunnel (GET), which operates the tunnel connecting England and France, dropped 6.5 percent to 5.14 euros, the lowest price since January 2012, as Natixis and RBC Capital Markets LLC cut their ratings on the stock.
Danone, which owns the Evian water brand, rallied 2.5 percent to 56.47 euros. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised the stock to overweight, similar to a buy rating, from neutral, with analyst Celine Pannuti predicting earnings-per-share growth of 10 percent from next year.
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