European stocks were little changed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index falling for the first week in a month, as Cypriot lawmakers sought to unlock a 10- billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout fund.
Euro-area finance ministers expect a proposal from Cyprus “as rapidly as possible” to raise the 5.8 billion euros needed to trigger the emergency loans, they said in a statement late yesterday. Cyprus didn’t get the financial support it sought from Russia, although the two countries will continue talking, Cyprus Finance Minister Michael Sarris said.
The race for a compromise comes after a week of tumult marked by Cypriot lawmakers’ rejection of a tax on bank deposits. That was demanded by the other 16 euro countries and the International Monetary Fund as a condition for the 10 billion-euro rescue.
In Germany, business confidence unexpectedly fell in March from a 10-month high. The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, fell to 106.7 this month from 107.4 in February. That’s the first drop in five months. Economists predicted a gain to 107.8.
National benchmark indexes declined in 11 of the 18 western European markets. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.3 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE increased 0.1 percent.
MAN lost 2.6 percent to 84.80 euros. VW, Europe’s largest carmaker, will offer other holders of MAN stock 80.89 euros per share in a bid for full control of the company. VW, which already owns 75.03 percent of the Munich-based company’s voting rights, will set the final cash offer after it receives valuation reports from auditors, MAN said yesterday. Volkswagen added 0.8 percent to 156.55 euros.
Mulberry plunged 17 percent to 1,024 pence. The company said that lower tourist spending in London will reduce pretax profit for the year ending March 31 to about 26 million pounds ($39.5 million) from 36 million pounds. The average estimate of three analysts compiled by Bloomberg was 30.7 million pounds.
Hochtief AG, Germany’s largest builder, slid 5.3 percent to 51.41 euros. Leighton Holdings Ltd. Chairman Stephen Johns and two non-executive directors resigned from the board of Australia’s largest construction company, citing a dispute with its controlling shareholder Hochtief.
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