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European stocks fell the most in a week, snapping the longest streak of gains in three months, as U.S. retail sales and consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped.
The Stoxx 600 lost 0.9 percent to 292.24 at 4:30 p.m. in London, paring its weekly gain to 1.8 percent. The gauge rallied for the past four days as China’s imports increased more than estimated and U.S. jobless claims fell.
National benchmark indexes declined in all of the 18 western European markets.
FTSE 100 6,384.39 -31.75 -0.49% CAC 40 3,729.3 -46.36 -1.23% DAX 7,744.77 -126.86 -1.61%
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in March, a report showed. The 0.4 percent decrease, the biggest since June, followed a 1 percent gain in February, according to Commerce Department figures in Washington. The median forecast called for an unchanged reading in March. Separate data showed the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary sentiment index for April slipped to 72.3 from 78.6 in March. Economists had predicted no change for this month’s reading.
Figures released today showed euro-area industrial production in February expanded more than economists. Output in the 17-nation economy rose 0.4 percent from January, when it dropped a 0.6 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said. That beat the 0.2 percent increase projected by economists.
Cap Gemini, France’s biggest computer-services company, retreated 4.3 percent to 34.19 euros, the biggest decline since November. Software AG fell 2.8 percent to 27.44 euros.
Infosys Ltd., India’s second-largest software-services exporter, said it expects revenue to increase 6 percent to 10 percent in the year ending March 2014. Analysts estimated sales growth of 12.7 percent, based on the average of 66 predictions compiled by Bloomberg.
Croda, the world’s second-biggest maker of cosmetic ingredients, slid 4.2 percent to 2,600 pence. UBS downgraded the shares to sell from neutral, saying the company has failed to deliver consistent earnings growth.
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest carmaker, fell 3.5 percent to 147.55 euros, the most since Feb. 22, after saying deliveries rose 0.2 percent last month as demand in China and North America was offset by shrinking sales across Europe.
Rentokil Initial Plc (RTO), the largest pest-control company, lost 2.8 percent to 97.55 pence. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut the shares to neutral from buy and reduced its price estimate by 14 percent to 111 pence. Goldman said it expects the company’s net debt to rise because of acquisitions and capital expenditure.
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