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European stocks fell, posting their worst start to the year since 2010, as companies from Electrolux AB to Vedanta Resources Plc dropped after reporting results.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.3 percent to 322.43 at 4:30 p.m. in London, paring earlier losses of as much as 1.7 percent. The equities measure declined 1.8 percent this month as emerging-market currencies tumbled, a Chinese manufacturing gauge contracted and the Federal Reserve slowed its pace of bond buying. The index fell 0.7 percent this week. A gauge of 20 emerging-market currencies, including Brazil’s real, Russia’s ruble and Turkey’s lira, fell 0.3 percent, its 14th drop in 15 days.
Euro-area unemployment held at 12 percent in December, a Eurostat data showed. November’s level was revised to 12 percent, down from a record 12.1 percent in September.
National benchmark indexes retreated in 14 of the 18 western European markets.
FTSE 100 6,510.44 -28.01 -0.43% CAC 40 4,165.72 -14.30 -0.34% DAX 9,306.48 -67.00 -0.71%
Electrolux dropped 9 percent to 138.90 kronor. The world’s second-biggest maker of home appliances said fourth-quarter earnings before interest and taxes fell 23 percent to 1.22 billion kronor ($187 million), missing the average analyst estimate for 1.38 billion kronor.
Diageo Plc (DGE), which yesterday said a slowdown in emerging markets weighed on first-half sales, fell 1.9 percent to 1,786 pence. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. downgraded the world’s biggest distiller to neutral from buy, citing continued challenges to growth in emerging markets.
Deutsche Bank AG slipped 2.8 percent to 35.89 euros. Barclays Plc lowered its rating on Germany’s largest lender to equal weight from overweight, saying it is struggling more than its competitors with deleveraging.
LVMH jumped 7.7 percent to 131.90 euros. The world’s largest luxury-goods maker said sales at its fashion and leather-goods unit, which includes Louis Vuitton and Kenzo, rose 7 percent in the final three months of 2013, from 4 percent in the first nine months of the year.
BT Group Plc (BT/A) advanced 3.3 percent to 383 pence. The biggest U.K. phone company reported third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 1.54 billion pounds ($2.54 billion). The average prediction of analysts was for 1.5 billion pounds. BT also forecast full-year Ebitda may reach the upper limit of its previous prediction of 6 billion pounds to 6.1 billion pounds.
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