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European stocks declined for a second day as investors weighed escalating tensions between America and Russia over the future of eastern Europe.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.4 percent to 333.72 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The benchmark measure lost 1.2 percent yesterday as technology shares retreated. The gauge has advanced 1.7 percent in 2014.
National benchmark indexes dropped in 15 of the 18 western European markets.
FTSE 100 6,590.69 -32.15 -0.49% CAC 40 4,424.83 -11.25 -0.25% DAX 9,490.79 -20.06 -0.21%
Ukraine sent forces into its eastern regions after pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv this week. The U.S. accused Russia of instigating the raids, amid increasing concern that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to make Ukraine a loose federation. The U.S. has said there is evidence that some protesters may be paid provocateurs.
Suedzucker AG slumped 21 percent to 16.22 euros. The maker of sugar, starch and bakery additives projects full-year revenue of about 7 billion euros ($9.6 billion), below analysts’ estimates of 7.5 billion euros. The company, which is reviewing costs in the sugar business, projected operating profit of about 200 million euros, trailing estimates of 608 million euros.
Sports Direct slid 9.3 percent to 810.5 pence, for its biggest drop since Dec. 12. Ashley sold 24 million shares at 850 pence each, it said in a statement. Ashley sold the holding after acquiring an 11 percent stake in House of Fraser Ltd.
Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA fell 3 percent to 44 euros. Groupama SA sold its entire 1.8 percent stake in Europe’s biggest supplier of building materials for 450 million euros.
Resolution Ltd. (RSL), which will change its name to Friends Life Group Ltd., declined 3.7 percent to 277.3 pence. Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit downgraded the insurance-buyout company to underperform, similar to sell, from neutral. Merrill Lynch said regulatory changes in the U.K. insurance business will hit Resolution hard.
Nokia rose 5.2 percent to 5.60 euros. China’s Ministry of Commerce said it has approved Nokia’s deal with Microsoft after the U.S. software company pledged it won’t ban Chinese phone makers from using its patents. With this clearance, Nokia said it expects the transaction to be completed this month.
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