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European stocks declined, snapping two days of gains, as reports showed the economies of the euro area and Japan shrank in the fourth quarter.
Recession in the euro area deepened more than economists forecast, a report showed. Gross domestic product fell 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said. That exceeded the 0.4 percent median estimate. The German economy, Europe’s largest, contracted more than economists had projected in the fourth quarter as exports declined. The French economy also shrank more than forecast, with GDP falling 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter.
In Japan, GDP contracted an annualized 0.4 percent, following a revised 3.8 percent drop in the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office said. The median forecast of 32 economists called for 0.4 percent growth.
Nestle dropped 2.5 percent to 62.90 Swiss francs. The company said its sales excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency changes increased 5.9 percent in 2012. That was less than the 6 percent average estimate of 11 analysts.
Renault advanced 5.4 percent to 45.53 euros, the highest price since February 2011. France’s second-largest carmaker said earnings before interest, taxes and one-time items totaled 729 million euros ($977 million). That beat the 698 million-euro average of 15 analyst estimates.
BNP Paribas gained 1.51 euros to 47.36 euros. The bank plans to reduce its annual cost base by 2 billion euros by 2015, while also hiring 1,300 staff at its corporate- and investment- banking and money-management units in Asia over three years. France’s second-largest lender said fourth-quarter net income fell 33 percent to 514 million euros. BNP plans to increase its dividend to 1.50 euros a share from 1.20 euros a year earlier.
FTSE 100 6,307.14 -51.97 -0.82%
CAC 40 3,664.82 -33.71 -0.91%DAX 7,617.38 -94.51 -1.23%
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