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European stocks fell for a third day, sending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to its lowest level in a month, with BG Group Plc and Vodafone Group Plc tumbling.
The Stoxx 600 dropped 0.8 percent. The Stoxx 600 has slumped 4.1 percent in the last three trading days after preliminary data showed Chinese manufacturing probably contracted in January for the first time in six months and Argentine policy makers allowed the peso to devalue by reducing support in the foreign-exchange market. The U.S. Federal Reserve reviews its stimulus policies this week.
In Germany, data today showed that the Ifo institute’s business climate index increased for a third month to 110.6 in January, exceeding the median prediction that forecast 110. The gauge, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 109.5 in December. A U.S. report showed that new-home sales dropped more than forecast in December. Sales fell 7 percent to a 414,000 annualized pace from a revised 445,000 rate the previous month. That compared with economists’ projections that called for a rate of 455,000.
National benchmark gauges fell in 17 of the 18 western-European markets.
FTSE 100 6,550.66 -113.08 -1.70% CAC 40 4,144.56 -16.91 -0.41% DAX 9,349.22 -42.80 -0.46%
BG Group plunged 14 percent to 1,080.5 pence, its biggest drop since October 2012, after saying reduced liquefied natural gas shipments from Egypt and U.S. forward-gas prices will hurt profit. Total earnings for 2013 will be $2.2 billion, or about 65 cents a share, BG said in a statement. The company expects production to be 590,000 to 630,000 barrels a day this year, lower than 2013’s 633,000 barrels a day.
Vodafone lost 3.7 percent to 224.1 pence. AT&T said it reserves the right to announce or participate in an offer after a six-month restricted period. Separately, people familiar with the matter said Vodafone is seeking to acquire Grupo Corporativo ONO SA as the Spanish cable operator prepares for an initial public offering.
Banco Popolare SC, Italy’s fourth-biggest bank, tumbled 15 percent to 1.29 euros for the biggest plunge since December 2008. The lender said last week it planned to sell as much as 1.5 billion euros ($2.1 billion) of shares to bolster capital.
Ziggo NV dropped 2.6 percent to 32.39 euros. Liberty Global Plc, the company controlled by billionaire John Malone, agreed to take over the Dutch broadband provider for 4.9 billion euros. Ziggo is seeking 3.7 billion euros of loans to finance its buyout, said a person with knowledge of the matter.
Ericsson AB added 1.9 percent to 76.45 kronor. The network-equipment maker and Samsung Electronics Co. settled their patent dispute and struck a new licensing deal for wireless technology in smartphones, televisions, tablets and Blu-Ray disk players. The pact will increase Ericsson’s fourth-quarter sales by 4.2 billion kronor ($652 million) and boost net income by 3.3 billion kronor initially. It also includes continuing royalty payments to Ericsson, the Stockholm-based said in a statement.
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