European stocks fell from a 4 1/2- year high as Fitch Ratings downgraded Italy and China’s retail sales and industrial output missed forecasts. U.S. index futures were little changed, while Asian shares climbed.
Fitch cut Italy’s credit rating by one level after the close of equity markets on March 8, as last month’s election produced political paralysis that threatens the country’s ability to respond to a recession and the European debt crisis.
In China, retail sales increased 12.3 percent in the first two months of 2013 from a year earlier and industrial production rose 9.9 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Both numbers trailed economists’ estimates.
French industrial production fell in January as Europe’s second-largest economy teetered on the brink of its third recession in four years. Output dropped 1.2 percent from December, more than the 0.2 percent decline forecast by economists in a survey.
Storebrand slid 8.6 percent to 24.68 kroner as stricter pension rules will require the insurer to set aside as much as 11.5 billion kroner ($2 billion).
OMV, central Europe’s biggest oil company, declined 2.8 percent to 34.09 euros in Vienna as SocGen downgraded as the stock to hold from buy.
ICAP, the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks, lost 3.5 percent to 330.5 pence as UBS AG downgraded the shares to sell from neutral.
Nordex SE soared 13 percent to 4.35 euros, an 11-month high. The German wind-turbine maker reported earnings before interest and taxes of 14 million euros ($18.2 million), compared with the 10.5 million-euro average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey, and raised its sales outlook.
FTSE 100 6,483.04 -0.54 -0.01%
CAC 40 3,821.7 -18.45 -0.48%
DAX 7,956.52 -29.95 -0.38%
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