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European stocks dropped for a second day, to the lowest level in almost four months, as investors awaited a resolution to the political impasse in Greece and as Spanish credit risk surged.
The stand-off since the inconclusive May 6 election has reignited concerns over Greece’s ability to comply with the terms of its two bailouts negotiated since May 2010. The country is again facing the risk of an exit from the euro.
Spanish 10-year government bonds extended a decline, pushing the yield on the securities above 6 percent for the first time since April 27. The yield climbed 20 basis points, or 0.17 percentage points, to 6.04 percent.
National benchmark indexes fell in 15 of the 18 western- European markets. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.4 percent, while Germany’s DAX added 0.5 percent. Spain’s IBEX 35 Index sank 2.8 percent, its lowest close since October, 2003.
The cost of insuring against a Spanish default surged to a record on concern a bailout of Bankia won’t fend of a banking crisis triggered by bad real-estate loans. Bankia tumbled 5.4 percent to 2.14 euros, the lowest since it listed its shares in July 2011, as JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded the Spanish lender to underweight, the equivalent of a sell recommendation.
Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest lender, dropped 4.6 percent to 4.64 euros and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA retreated 4.7 percent to 5.01 euros.
ING paced advancing shares, climbing 1.8 percent to 5.09 euros. The biggest Dutch financial-services company reported earnings excluding one-time gains and losses of 705 million euros, surpassing the 632 million-euro estimate of analysts.
Carlsberg jumped 3.8 percent to 490 kroner as the world’s fourth-biggest brewer confirmed its full-year outlook. The company reported a 43 percent drop in first-quarter operating profit, excluding some items, to 574 million kroner ($100 million) as it sold less beer in Russia. That missed the average analyst projection for 845 million kroner.
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