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08.06.2012 18:29

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European stocks retreated, paring the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s biggest weekly gain in four months, after German exports slumped more than forecast and Fitch Ratings cut Spain’s credit rating.

German exports declined in April for the first time this year as Europe’s worsening debt crisis and weaker global growth curbed demand.

Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, fell 1.7 percent from March, when they gained 0.8 percent, the Federal Statistics Office said today.

Fitch cut Spain’s rating to within two notches from junk, citing the cost of recapitalizing the country’s banking industry and a lengthening recession.

National benchmark indexes fell in 10 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 slid 0.6 percent. Germany’s DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 each lost 0.2 percent.

BHP, the world’s largest mining company, fell 2.9 percent to 1,767 pence. BofA-Merrill cut its earning per share estimate for the company by 5.9 percent for full-year 2013 and by 1.8 percent for 2014 on lower oil-price estimates, analyst Peter O’Connor wrote, while holding a neutral rating.

Basic-resource shares lost 2.8 percent for the biggest decline among industry groups in the Stoxx 600 as metals prices fell in London. Vedanta Resources Plc retreated 5.1 percent to 935.5 pence. Eramet dropped 2.5 percent to 86.36 euros.

Lamprell plunged 22 percent to 84.50 pence, paring earlier losses of as much as 37 percent. The U.K. oil and gas rig engineer cut its earnings forecast for the second time in three weeks, saying it expects a first-half loss of $15 million to $20 million.

H&M declined 0.6 percent to 214.30 kronor. The shares earlier fell as much as 4.1 percent after Societe Generale cut its recommendation on the stock to sell from hold, with a share price estimate of 197 kronor.

Market Focus

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  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • German private sector output growth slowed for the second month running in July
  • ECB's Mersch says as conditions normalise, it is unlikely that uncoventional policies will remain necessary
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