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European stocks declined for a second day as a spat between Germany and France over the role of the region’s central bank in ending the debt crisis outweighed better-than-forecast U.S. economic data. German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday rejected French calls to deploy the ECB as a crisis backstop, defying global leaders and investors calling for more urgent action to halt the turmoil. Merkel listed using the ECB as lender of last resort alongside joint euro-area bonds and a “snappy debt cut” as proposals that won’t work.
Europe is running out of options to fix its debt crisis and it is now up to Italy and Greece to convince markets they can deliver the necessary austerity measures, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos won approval for the final 2012 budget designed to regain the confidence of creditors and secure resumption of international financing. The budget forecasts Greece’s debt as a proportion of gross domestic product will fall to 145.5 percent in 2012 from 161.7 percent this year.
In Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti won a final parliamentary confidence vote, granting full power to his new government after pledging to attack the euro-region’s second- biggest debt and spur growth.
National benchmark indexes fell in 15 of the 18 western- European markets today, with Italy, Portugal and Spain the only gainers. U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 1.1 percent, while France’s CAC 40 Index fell 0.4 percent. Germany’s DAX Index lost 0.9 percent.
Kemira Oyj, the Finnish maker of water-treatment chemicals, sank 14 percent after cutting its forecasts. Annual revenue will probably reach the same level as last year and operating profit excluding one-time items will be at or slightly below the level in 2010, the Helsinki- based company said.
Chemring Group Plc, the U.K. maker of missile-avoidance gear, slumped the most in 14 years as profit missed estimates. The company said full-year revenue was 745 million pounds ($1.18 billion), 5 percent less than management expectations, leaving operating profit below analyst estimates.
ARM Holdings Plc fell 3.9 percent to 498 pence. The maker of processor chips for Apple Inc.’s iPhone expects slower growth in research spending in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an interview with President Tudor Brown.
SGL Carbon rose 1.2 percent to 43.68 euros after BMW, the world’s largest maker of luxury cars, bought a 15 percent stake in the maker of carbon products. BMW said it’s “satisfied” with its current holding, though can’t rule out additional share purchases in the future.
Deutsche Boerse AG, the operator of the Frankfurt exchange, added 2.8 percent to 42.52 euros. Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext offered to sell overlapping single-equity derivatives businesses and give access to clearing services to soothe European regulators’ concerns over their proposed merger.
Holcim Ltd., the world’s second-biggest cement maker, jumped 2.2 percent to 51.30 francs after Paul Roger, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas SA, raised the stock to “outperform” from “underperform.”
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