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European stocks dropped from a 23- month high as Saipem SpA plunged and investors awaited a report that may show the U.S. economy expanded in the fourth quarter at the weakest pace in almost two years.
The world’s largest economy probably expanded at a 1.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2011, according to the median estimate of 83 economists surveyed. Gross domestic product increased 3.1 percent in the three months through September. Consumer purchases, the biggest part of the economy, probably accelerated. The Commerce Department publishes its report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington.
In the euro area, a measure of consumer confidence compiled by the European Commission rose to minus 23.9 in January from minus 26.3 in December. That matched the median economist estimate in a survey.
Saipem plunged 36 percent to 19.64 euros, its biggest slide since at least Dec. 1988. The oil and gas contractor lowered its forecast for earnings before interest and taxes by 6 percent to about 1.5 billion euros. Ebit will fall to about 750 million euros this year, the oil-services contractor said in a statement late yesterday.
A gauge of European oil and gas companies fell the most in 11 weeks as Eni SpA, which owns a 43 percent stake in Saipem, dropped 4.8 percent to 18.38 euros. Rival energy explorers Technip SA and Petrofac Ltd. tumbled 6.8 percent to 77.73 euros and 5.5 percent to 1,641 pence, respectively.
Swedbank, the second-best capitalized major lender in the European Union, surged 7.6 percent to 145.10 kronor, its biggest jump since Nov. 2011. The bank proposed a dividend of 9.90 kronor a share, compared with 5.30 kronor a year earlier. Net income rose to 4.34 billion kronor ($683 million) in the fourth quarter, from 965 million kronor a year earlier, the lender said in a statement. That beat the average projection of 3.54 billion-krona in a Bloomberg survey.
Nordea rose 2.6 percent to 68.05 kronor after Scandinavia’s largest lender said profit increased 7 percent in the fourth quarter. Net income climbed to 840 million euros from 785 million euros in the same period a year earlier, the Stockholm- based lender said. That beat the average analyst estimate for profit of 765 million euros.
FTSE 100 6,340.12 +0.93 +0.01%
CAC 40 3,779.56 -6.26 -0.17%
DAX 7,833.03 -15.54 -0.20%
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