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European stocks retreated as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said downside risks to the economy remain, offsetting monetary policy easing by countries from China to the U.K.
The ECB cut interest rates to a record low and said it won’t pay anything on overnight deposits. The central bank reduced its main refinancing rate to 0.75 percent from 1 percent and cut its deposit rate to zero from 0.25 percent.
Draghi, the central bank’s president, said some “downside risks to the euro-area economic outlook have materialized. The main downside risks relate to weaker-than-expected economic activity.”
In the U.K, the Bank of England restarted bond buying two months after halting its asset-purchase program. The Monetary Policy Committee led by Governor Mervyn King raised its target by 50 billion pounds ($78 billion) to 375 billion pounds.
National benchmark indexes fell in 14 of the 18 western- European markets. Germany’s DAX declined 0.5 percent and France’s CAC 40 retreated 1.2 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.1 percent.
UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Italy’s largest banks, slumped 5.1 percent to 2.81 euros and 4.4 percent to 1.04 euros, respectively. Italy’s 10-year government bonds extended their decline, pushing the yield on the securities above 6 percent earlier today. Yields on two-year notes advanced 27 basis points to 3.70 percent.
In Spain, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA plunged 4.8 percent to 5.46 euros and Banco Santander SA, the country’s largest lender, fell 3.9 percent to 5.10 euros.
Volkswagen climbed 5.1 percent to 134.50 euros after Europe’s largest carmaker agreed to buy the controlling stake in Porsche’s automotive business for 4.46 billion euros ($5.5 billion), ending a seven-year takeover saga that has divided two of Germany’s most powerful families.
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