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European stocks declined from a seven-week high as a measure of U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly slumped, outweighing gains by companies from Royal KPN NV to Vivendi SA on plans to sell assets.
In the U.S., a measure of manufacturing in the region covered by the Federal Bank of Richmond unexpectedly slumped to minus 11 in July from a revised plus 7 the previous month. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg had called for a reading of plus 9.
National benchmark indexes rose in 10 of the 18 western-European markets today. France’s CAC 40 and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.4 percent, while Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 percent.
KPN added 2.8 percent to 1.85 euros after the Dutch company agreed to sell its E-Plus mobile-phone business for 5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) to Telefonica’s German unit. KPN will take a 17 percent stake in Telefonica Deutschland Holding AG, which is controlled by Spain’s largest carrier, Telefonica. The shares rallied 13 percent yesterday when KPN confirmed it had held talks about selling the business.
Separately, KPN posted a second-quarter profit of 107 million euros, missing the average analyst estimate of 145 million euros. Telefonica gained 2.3 percent to 10.29 euros, while Telefonica Deutschland slipped 5.3 percent to 5.39 euros.
Vivendi advanced 2.4 percent to 16.08 euros. The media and telecommunications conglomerate said it has entered exclusive talks with Etisalat to sell a 53 percent stake in the Moroccan phone company for 4.2 billion euros.
Swatch Group AG advanced 1.7 percent to 538.50 Swiss francs. The biggest maker of Swiss watches said it expects a strong second half after first-half profit rose. Net income increased 6.1 percent to 768 million Swiss francs, the Biel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement.
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