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European stocks fell for the first time in three days amid political wrangling in Italy and as orders for U.S. durable goods declined more than forecast.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.1 percent to 304.42 at 4:32 p.m. London, as two shares declined for each one that advanced. The volume of shares changing hands was 54 percent lower than the 30-day average as markets in London were closed for a holiday. The gauge has dropped 2 percent since May 22 amid speculation the Federal Reserve will start paring its bond-buying program as soon as next month.
Orders for U.S. durable goods fell more than forecast in July after three months of increases. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years decreased 7.3 percent, the most since August 2012, after a 3.9 percent gain in June, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median forecast of economists called for a 3 percent drop.
European Central Bank policy makers can’t rule out lowering the benchmark interest rate from the record low of 0.5 percent even amid signs the euro-area economy is improving, Governing Council Member Panicos Demetriades said in an Aug. 24 interview. By contrast, Bank of Austria Governor Ewald Nowotny said Aug. 22 that he doesn’t see “many arguments now for a rate cut” after the recent “stream of good news.”
National benchmark indexes declined in 13 of the 17 western European markets open today.
FTSE 100 6,492.1 +45.23 +0.70% CAC 40 4,067.13 -2.34 -0.06% DAX 8,435.15 +18.16 +0.22%
Italy’s FTSE MIB Index (FTSEMIB) lost 2.1 percent as UniCredit retreated 3.5 percent to 4.42 euros and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, the nation’s second-biggest bank, dropped 3.3 percent to 1.51 euros. Mediaset SpA, the broadcaster controlled by Berlusconi, tumbled 6.3 percent to 3.15 euros.
Fiat Industrial SpA, the maker of commercial and agriculture vehicles spun off from Fiat SpA in 2011, slipped 1.7 percent to 9.49 euros after saying Chief Financial Officer Pablo Di Si resigned to pursue other interests.
KPN added 3 percent to 2.33 euros after Telefonica Deutschland said billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil has committed to vote in favor of the sale of the German mobile business, called E-Plus. The stake in Telefonica Deutschland that KPN (KPN) will retain after completion will be increased to 20.5 percent from 17.6 percent, KPN said.
Sanofi (SAN) rose 2.4 percent to 76.74 euros, for the biggest gain in the Stoxx 600 by index points. France’s largest drugmaker said tests showed superior benefits of its Fluzone High-Dose influenza vaccine relative to the standard dose of Fluzone treatment in preventing flu.
K+S AG, Europe’s biggest potash producer, advanced 4.3 percent to 19.27 euros as Vladislav Baumgertner, chief executive officer of rival OAO Uralkali, was arrested in Belarus. Baumgertner was charged with abusing his office as chairman of Belarusian Potash Co., the trading venture known as BPC that Russia’s Uralkali and Belaruskali set up in 2005.
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