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European stocks declined from a five-year high as investors weighed corporate earnings and China’s pledge to boost the role of markets in economic growth.
China’s top policy makers affirmed that markets must play a decisive role in the allocation of economic resources, as the central committee of the Communist Party of China concluded its first plenary session under the presidency of Xi Jinping, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Today’s comments build on China’s pledge to reduce the role of the State in economic activity and boost private participation as the world’s second-largest economy tries to replace debt-driven growth with consumption-led expansion.
Xinhua said last week that the plenum would be a “watershed as drastic economic policies will be unveiled,” including giving more scope to market forces and an overhaul of the household registration system that limits labor mobility.
National benchmark indexes fell in 16 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.6 percent and Germany’s DAX slid 0.3 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 slipped less than 0.1 percent.
Norsk Hydro retreated 5.5 percent to 25.49 kroner. Vale, the world’s biggest iron-ore exporter, sold its stake in the company for $1.8 billion. Vale sold 407.1 million shares for 25 kroner each. If an over-allotment option of 40.7 million shares is exercised in full, Vale will have disposed of its entire 22 percent stake for 11.2 billion kroner ($1.82 billion).
A gauge of mining companies posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Anglo American Plc slid 2.3 percent to 1,440.5 pence and Fresnillo Plc declined 3.9 percent to 915.5 pence. Polymetal International Plc slid 5.5 percent to 536.5 pence.
Infineon Technologies lost 5.6 percent to 6.88 euros, the biggest slide since June, after forecasting a slide in profitability for its first quarter because of a revenue drop at its power-management chip division. Earnings before interest and taxes will amount to 8 percent to 10 percent of sales in the three months through December, the company said.
Swiss Life gained 5.1 percent to 189 Swiss francs as the country’s biggest life insurer said CEO Bruno Pfister will resign. Chief Investment Officer Patrick Frost will succeed Pfister on July 1. The company also said third-quarter premium income rose 8 percent to 3.29 billion francs ($3.57 billion).
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