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04.12.2013 18:20

European stock close

European stocks declined for a fourth day, their longest losing streak in more than five months, as better-than-expected U.S. jobs data fueled concern the Federal Reserve will pare stimulus measures sooner than forecast.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.6 percent to 317.29 at 4:30 p.m. in London, after earlier losing as much as 1.1 percent. The benchmark fell 1.5 percent yesterday as investors weighed valuations before U.S. jobs data this week.

A private jobs report by ADP Research Institute showed that U.S. companies last month added 215,000 workers in November, the most in a year. The median forecast of economists was for an increase of 170,000. Labor Department data on Dec. 6 may show the unemployment rate fell to 7.2 percent, matching the lowest level in five years.

The Fed has said it will monitor labor-market gains before deciding when to pare its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases. The central bank will release its Beige Book report on economic conditions in the world’s largest economy after European markets close today.

A Commerce Department release showed U.S. new-home sales jumped in October by the most in three decades. Sales increased 25.4 percent to a 444,000 annualized pace, exceeding the 429,000 rate forecast by economists.

Another report showed the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index fell to 53.9 in November from 55.4 a month earlier. Economists had projected a decline to 55.

The Federal Open Market Committee meets next on Dec. 17-18. Policy makers will probably pare the monthly pace of bond buying to $70 billion at their March 18-19 meeting, according to the median of estimates.

The euro area’s nascent recovery from a record-long recession nearly stalled in the third quarter, according to figures released today by the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg. Gross domestic product rose 0.1 percent after a 0.3 percent gain in the previous three months. That was in line with Eurostat’s initial estimate. From a year earlier, the economy contracted 0.4 percent.

National benchmark indexes declined in all of the western European markets except Iceland.

FTSE 100 6,509.97 -22.46 -0.34% CAC 40 4,148.52 -23.92 -0.57% DAX 9,140.63 -82.77 -0.90%

Elekta (EKTAB) dropped 5.4 percent to 91.35 kronor after the maker of radiation-surgery equipment reported second-quarter operating profit of 304 million kronor ($47 million), missing the average analyst estimate for 424 million kronor.

Standard Chartered slid 6.5 percent to 1,338 pence, the lowest price since August 2012. The U.K. bank that generates about three-quarters of its profits from Asia said full-year operating profit at its consumer-banking unit will decline at least 10 percent because of weakness in Korea.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S retreated 3.4 percent to 141.10 kroner after saying its Marena Renovables project in Mexico has been further delayed. The company said in a statement that it has agreed to extend the forbearance agreement from Nov. 30 until Feb. 28, 2014. Vestas said in May the project was facing “significant” delays.

Peugeot climbed 5.6 percent to 12.14 euros after Goldman Sachs added the shares to its conviction-buy list, citing a capital increase, asset disposals and a probable alliance in China. Goldman Sachs said in a note today that European carmakers will post profit growth through 2017 as sales and prices increase.

Sage Group Plc jumped 7.2 percent to 372.5 pence after proposing a final dividend of 7.44 pence a share, exceeding analysts’ projections of 7.1 pence. The software publisher posted sales of about 1.38 billion pounds ($2.26 billion) today, in line with analysts’ forecasts.

Market Focus

  • The Bank of Japan decided by a 7-2 majority vote to hold the interest rate at -0.10%
  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 4.7 million barrels from the previous week
  • Australian unemployment rate stable at 5.6% in June
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