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European stocks pared their decline as insurance companies and utilities climbed.
Ministers from the 17-member euro area meet today to discuss aid to Cyprus and Greece as a tightening election contest in Italy and a political scandal in Spain threaten to reignite the region’s debt crisis. Group of 20 finance chiefs and central bankers will gather in Moscow on Friday.
European companies from Barclays Plc to Total SA and Heineken NV are due to report earnings this week, data show. Stoxx 600 members are forecast to increase dividends by 1.8 percent in 2013, according to analysts’ estimates.
Companies around the world are rewarding shareholders with the highest dividends in more than two decades compared with bond interest payments. Companies in the MSCI World Index paid an average 2.7 percent of their share price in dividends as of last week, according to data. That compares with the 2.6 percent yield on the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Corporate Index of investment-grade bonds and 6.1 percent for securities in the Barclays Global High-Yield Index.
Novo Nordisk A/S, the world’s largest insulin maker, plunged the most in almost four years in Copenhagen after failing to win U.S. approval for a new insulin. Sanofi, which produces a rival drug, jumped 4.3 percent.
Royal Ahold NV rallied 4.1 percent after agreeing to sell its 60 percent stake in ICA, Sweden’s largest food retailer, for $3.1 billion.
FTSE 100 6,280.37 +16.44 +0.26%
CAC 40 3,666.23 +16.73 +0.46%
DAX 7,661.2 +9.06 +0.12%
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