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European stocks declined, after yesterday rallying the most in three weeks, as retailers fell and investors awaited the outcome of a European Central Bank meeting. U.S. index futures and Asian shares also retreated as the U.S. government entered the second day of its shutdown.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.7 percent to 310.61 at 9:11 a.m. in London. The equity benchmark jumped 0.8 percent yesterday as a senior minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party said that lawmakers should vote for the incumbent prime minister in today’s confidence vote. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures also decreased 0.7 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.3 percent.
European Central Bank policy makers meeting in Paris today will keep their benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.5 percent, according to economists.
The ECB will decide against pumping more cash into the currency zone’s financial system as long as the threat of action keeps market interest rates under control, according to economists from Berenberg Bank to Nomura Holdings Inc. While Draghi put investors on notice last week that a further long-term refinancing operation remains possible, other policy makers have played down the likelihood of that for now.
In Italy, Prime Minister Enrico Letta may win a confidence vote today after deputy premier Angelino Alfano said that lawmakers from People of Liberty will support the coalition government. Berlusconi prompted the vote when he withdrew his party’s ministers, including Alfano, from the cabinet on Sept. 28. The front-page headline of the Berlusconi-owned Il Giornale this morning read “Alfano Traitor.”
The U.S. government began its first partial shutdown in 17 years yesterday as Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a compromise budget to keep the federal government open into the new financial year. As many as 800,000 federal employees didn’t work and the government closed some services.
Tesco fell 4.1 percent to 344.3 pence after reporting that so-called trading profit dropped 7.6 percent to 1.59 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) in the first half of the financial year, Cheshunt, England-based Tesco said. That missed the 1.62 billion-pound median estimate of analysts. Operating profit in Europe slumped 68 percent.
J Sainsbury Plc lost 2.5 percent to 380.6 pence, following Tesco lower. The U.K.’s third-largest supermarket chain also reported that second-quarter same-store revenue, excluding fuel sales, increased 2 percent. Total sales climbed 5 percent.
KappAhl slumped 6.5 percent to 40.20 kronor after it proposed paying no dividend. The company also announced fiscal fourth-quarter net income of 7 million kronor ($1.1 million).
FTSE 100 6,409.52 -50.49 -0.78%
CAC 40 4,166.23 -30.37 -0.72%
DAX 8,644.15 -44.99 -0.52%
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