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European (SXXP) stocks tumbled the most in more than two weeks after the euro area forced Cyprus to adopt a levy on bank deposits, prompting concern that the single currency’s debt crisis will reignite. U.S. index futures and Asian shares also sank.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.9 percent to 294.82 at 8:47 a.m. in London, its biggest drop since March 1. Cypriot and Greek stock markets are closed for a holiday today.
While Cyprus accounts for less than half a percent of the 17-nation euro area’s economy, the raid on bank accounts risks a resumption of the financial crisis that began in 2009 in Greece. Moody’s Investors Service said that the move limits support for bank creditors across Europe and shows that policy makers will risk disrupting financial markets to avoid sovereign defaults. Cyprus’s President, Nicos Anastasiades, will try to persuade lawmakers to back the plan. The levy enabled the euro area to lower its bailout of the country to 10 billion euros ($13 billion) from an original figure of about 17 billion euros.
Ericsson lost 1.8 percent to 83.85 kronor after agreeing to wind down the ST-Ericsson joint venture and divide the assets. The Swedish and Italian companies failed to find a buyer for the business. STMicroelectronics will incur cash costs of $350 million to $450 million. The Italian company said the charges were lower than it had estimated in January. STMicroelectronics climbed 1.8 percent to 5.96 euros.
Commerzbank declined 1.7 percent to 1.18 euros. The stock was cut to neutral from outperform at Credit Suisse.
BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, retreated 1.1 percent to 2,042 pence.
Marks & Spencer Group Plc surged 5.2 percent to 392 pence. The shares earlier rallied as much as 9.4 percent after the Sunday Times reported that Qatar Investment Authority has considered an 8 billion-pound ($12 billion) bid for the U.K.’s largest clothing retailer. The newspaper cited unidentified people working in the City of London. Reuters cited an anonymous source as saying that the investor is not considering a bid.
At the moment:
FTSE 100 6,439.36 -50.29 -0.77%
CAC 40 3,794.49 -49.54 -1.29%
DAX 7,953.74 -89.11 -1.11%
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