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01.03.2013 18:20

European stock close:

European (SXXP) stocks declined, following nine months of gains for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as measures of manufacturing in the U.K. and China dropped, while a report showed euro-area unemployment has climbed to a record.

The Stoxx 600 retreated 0.3 percent to 289.02 at the close in London, paring an earlier slide of as much as 1.1 percent.

China’s manufacturing growth unexpectedly slowed last month. The country’s official purchasing managers’ index slipped to 50.1 in February from 50.4 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today in Beijing. The reading compared with the 50.5 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 31 economists. A number above 50 means that activity increased.

European stocks pared their decline after the Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. factory index increased to 54.2 last month from 53.1 a month earlier. Economists had projected the gauge would decline to 52.5, according to the median forecast.

National benchmark indexes dropped in 11 of the 18 western- European markets.

FTSE 100 6,378.6 +17.79 +0.28% CAC 40 3,699.91 -23.09 -0.62% DAX 7,708.16 -33.54 -0.43%

Rio Tinto retreated 2.8 percent to 3,442 pence as a gauge of mining companies posted the largest decline of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.

Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ) slumped 4.7 percent to 590 pence. Liberum Capital Ltd. downgraded Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer to hold from buy, citing higher unit costs at its businesses.

Glencore International Plc (GLEN) dropped 2.7 percent to 377 pence. The largest publicly traded commodities supplier said it will miss its March 15 deadline to complete the $33 billion takeover of Xstrata Plc. Glencore said that it needs approval from China before it can conclude the deal. Xstrata slid 3.1 percent to 1,127 pence.

Belgacom plunged 5.6 percent to 20.21 euros after Belgium’s largest phone company forecast earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 1.69 billion euros ($2.2 billion) to 1.73 billion euros for 2013. The average analyst estimate had predicted Ebitda of 1.75 billion euros this year.

Vopak tumbled 11 percent to 48.90 euros, falling the most since November 2008. The world’s largest oil and chemical storage company reported an 8.5 percent drop in full-year operating profit to 536 million euros.

Deutsche Bank AG lost 4.3 percent to 33.57 euros. Germany’s largest bank was downgraded to sell from neutral at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Market Focus

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