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European stocks fell, extending a weekly loss, as oil and gas companies dropped, outweighing better-than-expected euro-area economic confidence data.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.8 percent to 297.62 at 4:30 p.m. in London. The measure is heading for a 2.4 percent drop this week, its second weekly decline, amid concern that the U.S. and its allies will take military action against Syria. It has still risen 8 percent since a June 24 low as central banks pledged to support the global economy and data showed the euro area emerged from a record-long recession in the second quarter.
Economic confidence in the euro area soared to a two-year high in August. An index of executive and consumer sentiment rose for a fourth month to 95.2 from 92.5 in July, the European Commission in Brussels said. The median of economists’ forecasts was for a gain to 93.8.
In the U.S., the MNI Chicago Report business barometer rose to 53 in August from a reading of 52.3 the prior month. Numbers greater than 50 signal expansion. The median forecast of economists was 53. The regional index is viewed as an indicator of business activity across the U.S.
Separate data from the Commerce Department showed consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, rose 0.1 percent after a revised 0.6 percent increase the prior month that was larger than previously estimated. The median forecast of economists called for a 0.3 percent rise.
National benchmark indexes fell in all western European markets except Greece.
FTSE 100 6,412.93 -70.12 -1.08% CAC 40 3,933.78 -52.57 -1.32% DAX 8,103.15 -91.40 -1.12%
KPN slid 3.1 percent to 2.22 euros, paring earlier losses of as much as 8.4 percent. The company’s independent foundation yesterday exercised an option to acquire preferred shares, giving it almost 50 percent of issued and voting stock. America Movil said today it may withdraw its offer of 2.40 euros a share for majority control of the Dutch phone company if blocked by the KPN foundation.
Danone SA (BN) declined 1.5 percent to 56.40 euros after saying baby-nutrition sales will fall in Asia in the third quarter. The company said it had to recall infant-formula products after milk-powder supplier Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd. warned of a contaminated ingredient. Danone, which gets 20 percent of revenue from baby nutrition, recalled the products in eight markets, including New Zealand, China and Hong Kong, as a precautionary measure.
ThromboGenics NV (THR) tumbled 19 percent to 22.76 euros, the biggest drop since July 2012. The Belgian drugmaker said sales of Jetrea, the eye drug approved by the U.S. last year, will not increase in the second half of the year. That implies full-year sales will be 36 percent less than estimates for 39.4 million euros,.
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc (BPTY) plunged 14 percent to 110 pence, the biggest drop since April 2011, after the online gaming company said 2013 sales will be 14 percent to 17 percent lower than last year’s figures. Analysts on average had forecast a sales drop of 9.2 percent.
Hermes (RMS) added 3 percent to 255.85 euros. The French maker of Kelly bags reported first-half operating profit rose 14 percent to 584.1 million euros ($773.6 million), exceeding the 569 million-euro average estimate of analysts. It also confirmed its July forecast that sales in 2013, excluding currency swings, will increase more than 10 percent.
L’Oreal SA (OR) advanced 3.7 percent to 126.90 euros, the biggest gain in more than four months, after saying first-half operating profit rose to 2.04 billion euros, or 17.4 percent of sales. That’s a record percentage for a six-month period.
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