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Most European stocks fell, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index posting its biggest weekly drop in a month, amid concern that automatic spending cuts and tax increases may push the world’s largest economy into a recession.
Credit Agricole sank 5.9 percent after posting a wider third-quarter loss than analysts had estimated. Novo Nordisk A/S rallied 7.3 percent as an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration backed its insulin treatment.
The Stoxx 600 slipped less than 0.1 percent to 270.53 at 4:30 p.m. in London, after earlier declining as much as 1.1 percent.
The U.S. economy will contract if Congress fails to act, allowing more than $600 billion of tax increases and spending cuts to take effect next year, Fitch Ratings said.
A report from the Congressional Budget Office published late yesterday reiterated that failing to avoid the fiscal cliff would lead to a recession in the first half of 2013.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer- sentiment index climbed to 84.9 in November. That beat the average economist estimate for a figure of 82.9.
National benchmark indexes declined in 10 of the 18 western-European markets.
FTSE 100 5,769.68 -6.37 -0.11% CAC 40 3,423.57 +15.89 +0.47% DAX 7,163.5 -41.46 -0.58%
Credit Agricole slumped 5.9 percent to 5.57 euros. France’s third-largest bank posted a quarterly loss of 2.85 billion euros ($3.6 billion), wider than the 1.88 billion-euro average estimate of analyst. The lender’s decision to sell its Emporiki Bank unit to Greece’s Alpha Bank SA cut net income by 1.96 billion euros.
Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, Germany’s two biggest lenders, fell 2.3 percent to 33.52 euros and 6.3 percent to 1.33 euros, respectively. A gauge of lenders contributed the most to the Stoxx 600’s decline.
Rheinmetall AG plunged 5.7 percent to 32.85 euros. The company, which helps make Germany’s Leopard 2 battle tank, reported third-quarter profit of 33 million euros, falling short of the average analyst estimate of 35 million euros. The company cut its full-year sales forecast to 4.8 billion euros from 4.9 billion euros.
Aegon NV, the Dutch insurer which owns Transamerica Corp., fell 3.5 percent to 4.25 euros. The stock was downgraded to neutral from buy at Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit.
Corio NV retreated 3.3 percent to 32.29 euros as the Netherlands’ largest publicly traded property company reported profit that missed some analysts’ estimates.
Earnings excluding changes in asset values and deferred tax declined to 196.6 million euros in the first nine months compared with 197.1 million euros a year earlier, Utrecht-based Corio said. Kai Klose, an analyst at Berenberg Bank in London, had predicted 204.7 million euros of profit on the same measure.
Telecom Italia SpA rose 3.7 percent to 69.1 euro cents after posting third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates. Net income declined 13 percent to 681 million euros from a restated profit of 786 million euros a year earlier, the company said. Analysts had predicted profit of 664 million euros.
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