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European stock markets ended lower Monday as investors awaited a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, while shares of TNT Express NV plunged after United Parcel Service Inc. said European regulators would block its proposed acquisition of the Dutch package-delivery company.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.4% to close at 286.01.
FTSE 100 6,107.86 -13.72 -0.22% CAC 40 3,708.25 +2.23 +0.06% DAX 7,729.52 +13.99 +0.18%
Shares of TNT Express plunged more than 41% and PostNL plummeted nearly 36%, upended as UPS said the European Commission would refuse to approve the U.S. logistics group’s proposed $6.8 billion buyout of TNT Express over competition concerns. PostNL has been attempting to dispose of its nearly 30% stake in TNT.
In Paris, shares of Société Générale SA rose 3.8% and Credit Agricole SA added 3%. Credit Suisse upgraded the French banks to overweight, citing positive effects of 2012 asset disposals and inexpensive valuations relative to peers.
Also higher in Paris, shares of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA rose 0.4%. The company said Ardagh Glass Ltd. has made a “binding and irrevocable” offer valued at $1.69 billion for the French conglomerate’s North American unit, which makes glass bottles and jars.
In other deal news, shares of Swatch Group AG rose 4.1% after the Swiss watch company said it paid $750 million for the jewelry and watch brand of Harry Winston Diamond Corp.
European stocks got an early boost after comments from Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Media reports said Evans predicted the U.S. economy will grow by 2.5% in 2013, improving to a 3.5% growth rate for gross domestic product in 2014. Read: Monetary policy needs to boost growth: Fed's Evans
Shares of Volkswagen AG gave up an earlier gain to lose 0.1%. Société Générale said it believes the auto maker will continue to outperform in all major markets, but it did reduce earnings forecasts on the group. Volkwagen’s 2013 earnings before interest and taxes forecast was cut to €14.4 billion from €15.8 billion.
Shares of Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. traded 3.5% higher. Credit Suisse analysts upgraded its rating to outperform from neutral, saying they believe that downside risks are now limited and that there are potential re-rating catalysts this year.
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