European stocks declined, following the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s biggest weekly rally this year, as euro-area finance ministers met for a third time this month on Greece’s finances.
Euro-area finance ministers meet in Brussels to try to clear the next installment of Greek aid and discuss ways to keep the country a solvent member of the currency bloc. They failed to reach agreement in two previous meetings this month.
Pro-independence parties in the Spanish region of Catalonia won a vote, strengthening a drive for a referendum on secession in defiance of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Catalan President Artur Mas, who called early elections to force a debate on independence, lost a fifth of the seats his Convergencia i Unio party held previously. Mas’s losses showed he will have to depend on anti-austerity separatists to govern Spain’s largest regional economy.
National benchmark indexes fell in 16 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC slid 0.8 percent, Germany’s DAX dropped 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 0.6 percent.
Barclays fell 5.4 percent to 240.5 pence, the sharpest decrease since June 28. Qatar Holding LLC sold the last of the Barclays warrants it acquired during the financial crisis, triggering a 771 million-pound ($1.24 billion) stock offering by the banks that arranged the transaction. Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sold as many as 303.3 million shares in the British bank to money managers for 244 pence apiece, the bottom of the 244 pence to 248 pence range used to canvas investor interest in the stock.
ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s largest steelmaker, dropped 5.1 percent to 15.93 euros, the biggest slump since March 6. The sale of its Americas unit has been delayed until September 2013, Financial Times Deutschland reported, following a similar report by Sueddeutsche Zeitung last week. Separately, the stock was downgraded to neutral from outperform at Credit Suisse. An outperform rating is similar to a buy recommendation.
Lafarge SA, the world’s biggest cement maker, lost 2.4 percent to 43.61 euros amid political instability in Egypt. The company gets almost a fourth of its revenue from the Middle East and Africa.
Straumann added 2.3 percent to 107.90 Swiss francs, rallying for a seventh day. Singapore’s GIC bought a 10 percent stake in the company from Vice Chairman Thomas Straumann, becoming the second-largest shareholder.
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