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European stocks declined the most in five weeks amid increasing geopolitical tension after Russia’s parliament authorized President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops in Ukraine. U.S. index futures and Asian shares also fell.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 1.7 percent to 332.23 at 10:46 a.m. in London. Of the equity benchmark’s 600 members, 572 declined, while 22 advanced. The measure rose 4.8 percent in February as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pledged to follow her predecessor’s policy on economic stimulus.
The standoff over Ukraine intensified over the weekend as Putin got parliamentary approval to send troops into Ukraine. The former Soviet state put its military on combat readiness as Russian-speaking forces arrived outside the Ukrainian infantry base at Privolnoye on the Crimean peninsula.
The U.S. warned Russia not to intervene in the region and raised the possibility of imposing sanctions. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Ukraine today to offer support as Russian troops occupy the Black Sea region of Crimea. European Union foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting today, while the Group of Seven nations suspended planning for June’s Group of Eight summit in Russia.
China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index for February fell to 50.2 from 50.5 in January, according to official data released on March 1. A number above 50 indicates expansion. A private PMI by HSBC Holdings Plc. and Markit Economics signaled contraction, slipping to 48.5 from 49.5.
An index of euro-area manufacturing output based on a survey of purchasing managers rose to 53.2 in February, compared with the preliminary estimate of 53, according to a final reading from Markit.
Nokian Renkaat Oyj (NRE1V) lost 6.9 percent to 30.26 euros. The Nordic region’s largest tiremaker got about 35 percent of its revenue from the Russian region in 2012.
Metro AG retreated 6.6 percent to 28.08 euros. Germany’s biggest retailer said on Jan. 20 that it plans to proceed with an initial public offering of its Russian cash and carry business to raise money for expansion.
Roche slipped 2.5 percent to 264.70 Swiss francs. Genentech, a unit of the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, said an independent data monitoring committee recommended that it halt the Phase III METLung study of the lung cancer treatment because it hasn’t shown any clinical benefits.
Bouygues declined 2.1 percent to 28.59 euros. Chief Executive Officer Martin Bouygues met with French President Francois Hollande on Feb. 27 to seek government support for the purchase of SFR, Le Journal du Dimanche reported, citing people close to the CEO.
Kuehne & Nagel International AG slipped 3.5 percent to 121.20 francs. The world’s biggest sea-freight forwarder reported 2013 earnings before interest and taxes rose 20 percent last year to 761 million francs ($865 million). Analysts had forecast 763.8 million francs.
FTSE 100 6,692.09 -117.61 -1.73%
CAC 40 4,304.53 -103.55 -2.35%
DAX 9,422.87 -269.21 -2.78%
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