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European stocks fell, following three weeks of gains for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as this week’s release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting fueled speculation policy makers will trim bond buying.
Investors will scrutinize minutes of the FOMC’s July 30-31 meeting for indications of when the Fed will begin to reduce the $85 billion pace of monthly bond purchases. The minutes may also describe the risks from inflation staying below the central bank’s 2 percent goal. The FOMC holds its next two-day meeting on Sept. 17-18.
Treasuries fell, pushing the yield on the 10-year securities up as much as 5 basis points to 2.87 percent, the highest since July 2011.
Central bankers and policy makers meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from Aug. 22 to Aug. 24 to discuss the global economy and monetary policy.
Glencore lost 2.1 percent to 301.95 pence after Reuters reported the mining company created three months ago may write down as much as $7 billion of inherited Xstrata assets when it reports its first-half earnings tomorrow.
A gauge of lenders contributed the most to the Stoxx 600’s decline. Santander, Spain’s largest bank, retreated 2.9 percent to 5.65 euros as the spread on 10-year Spanish bonds over German securities widened four basis points to 252 basis points. Bankinter SA slid 5.2 percent to 3.65 euros.
UniCredit fell 5.2 percent to 4.53 euros and Banco Popolare SC lost 4.5 percent to 1.12 euros. The spread on benchmark 10-year Italian debt over bunds with the same maturity widened eight basis points to 238 basis points.
Kentz jumped 24 percent to 591 pence, the biggest rally since its initial public offering in February 2008, after rejecting potential takeover approaches from companies including Amec Plc and M&W Group GmbH. Amec said in a statement that Kentz’s board of directors turned down its offer of 565 pence to 580 pence a share, saying it undervalued the company. Kentz also rejected M&W’s possible offer, which it said was lower than Amec’s.
Atlas Copco AB advanced 1.4 percent to 180 kronor. The world’s largest maker of air compressors agreed to buy Edwards Group Ltd. for $1.2 billion in cash to expand in vacuum pumps. Shareholders of the British company will receive as much as $10.50 a share depending on this year’s financial results, Stockholm-based Atlas Copco said in a statement.
National benchmark indexes retreated in 15 of the 18 western European markets today. France’s CAC 40 slipped 1 percent and Germany’s DAX fell 0.3 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.5 percent.
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