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24.01.2014 18:26

European stocks close

European stocks fell the most since June, extending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s weekly drop, as investors assessed a tumble in emerging-market currencies amid concern Federal Reserve tapering is hurting growth.

The Stoxx 600 slid 2.4 percent to 324.75 at the close of trading, for a weekly loss of 3.3 percent. Emerging-market stocks extended their weekly drop today as currencies from commodity-exporting countries that depend on Chinese demand sank the most in five years.

European stocks declined 1 percent yesterday, the biggest drop since Dec. 3, as a report showed manufacturing in China probably contracted this month. In the U.S., applications for unemployment benefits rose in the latest week while purchases of previously-owned homes climbed less in December than projected.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has lost about 10 percent since the Fed signaled in May that it could start scaling back bond purchases that boosted demand for higher-yielding assets. A Bloomberg gauge tracking 20 emerging-market currencies slid to the lowest level since 2009 today.

National benchmark indexes fell in all 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 slipped 1.6 percent, Germany’s DAX lost 2.5 percent and France’s CAC 40 retreated 2.8 percent.

In Germany, the yield on 10-year government bonds fell to the lowest level since August as concern growth in emerging markets is slowing boosted demand for the safest assets.

BBVA, which controls Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS, Turkey’s largest lender by market value, and a bank in Argentina, declined 5.1 percent to 8.85 euros. Banco Santander SA, which earns about a quarter of its profit from Brazil, fell 3.5 percent to 6.34 euros.

Novartis dropped 3 percent to 71.50 Swiss francs. The drugmaker will seek another review of Serelaxin after the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended against its approval for treating acute heart failure.

Syngenta AG retreated 4.7 percent to 334.70 francs as the National Grain & Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association asked the maker of crop chemicals to halt sales of two types of genetically modified corn seeds in the U.S. that have not been approved in China.

Celesio advanced 3.7 percent to 24.91 euros. McKesson, the largest U.S. drug distributor, will acquire Celesio just 10 days after a tender offer at the same price of 23.50 euros a share failed to reach the 75 percent threshold for the deal to go through. McKesson yesterday said it bought Celesio convertible bonds from hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., giving it more than 75 percent ownership of Celesio’s shares.

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