European stocks retreated for a second straight day as volume tumbled before the Christmas holiday and concern grew U.S. policy makers won’t meet a year- end budget deadline.
Exchanges in 10 of the 18 western European nations were shut today, including Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The other markets closed early.
Time is running out for U.S. lawmakers to agree on a budget deal to avoid triggering more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts in January, Senator Joseph Lieberman said. The odds are that Republicans and Democrats won’t be able to reach a deal in the lower house and Senate leaders now must take charge of resolving the stalemate, Lieberman, a retiring Connecticut independent, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
In Europe, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said he won’t run in the country’s elections in February, though he would consider being the candidate for a coalition backing his economic agenda. Monti announced his resignation on Dec. 21, paving the way for elections on Feb. 24-25.
D’Ieteren plummeted 17 percent to 30.40 euros, the biggest drop since at least 1990. The owner of the world’s largest vehicle-glass repair company said its 2012 profit decline will be deeper than earlier projections and forecast an earnings drop of at least 10 percent next year. D’Ieteren now sees pretax profit excluding one-time items down about 30 percent this year, compared with a Nov. 8 estimate of a 25 percent slide.
British American Tobacco, Europe’s largest cigarette maker, dropped 1.3 percent to 3,101 pence, contributing the most to the Stoxx 600’s decline.
UBM rose 1 percent to 721 pence as a gauge of media companies posted the best performance of 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
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