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European stocks dropped from their highest level since May 2008, tracking global indexes lower amid concern over equity valuations. U.S. index futures fluctuated, while Asian shares retreated.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.8 percent to 328.04 at 8:29 a.m. in London, its biggest retreat since Jan. 2. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added less than 0.1 percent, after the equity benchmark yesterday dropped the most in two months. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1.4 percent for its largest loss since September as Japanese equities tumbled.
Celesio dropped 5.4 percent to 22.85 euros. McKesson, the largest U.S. drug distributor, said in a statement that its increased offer of 23.50 euros a share failed to obtain the backing of 75 percent of Celesio’s shares needed for the deal to go through. McKesson may seek a joint venture with the European wholesaler, John H. Hammergren, chairman and chief executive officer, said yesterday at a conference in San Francisco.
Jeronimo Martins, which owns supermarkets in Portugal and Poland, lost 3.4 percent to 13.53 euros as JPMorgan downgraded the stock to neutral from overweight, meaning that investors should no longer buy the shares. Comparable sales rose 2.5 percent in Poland in the fourth quarter, less than the 4 percent rate for the previous three-month period, according to a statement late yesterday. The Polish business, Biedronka, accounted for 66 percent of total sales in the three months through December.
Volkswagen slipped 2.7 percent to 197.05 euros as UBS lowered its rating on Europe’s largest carmaker to sell from neutral, saying the company’s high level of re-investment may cut into earnings growth.
FTSE 100 6,749.56 -7.59 -0.11%
CAC 40 4,247.99 -15.28 -0.36%
DAX 9,462.99 -47.18 -0.50%
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