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07.03.2014 18:21

European stocks close

European stocks slid, completing their first weekly decline since January, as Russia said it may cut off Ukraine’s gas, outweighing a report that showed the U.S. economy created more jobs last month than forecast.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 1.3 percent to 333.06 at the close of trading. The benchmark has fallen 1.5 percent this week amid concern that Russia would intervene in Ukraine, resulting in sanctions and disrupted trade. European equities slid 2.3 percent on March 3 after Russia’s parliament authorized President Vladimir Putin to send troops into Ukraine.

Russia said Ukraine must pay off almost $2 billion owed for natural gas today and signaled supplies may otherwise be cut. The two countries have clashed over control of Ukraine’s Crimea region, where a majority of people speak Russian. Lawmakers in Moscow said they would accept the results of a March 16 referendum on Crimea joining Russia, while Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated that his cabinet deems the vote illegal.

A Labor Department report showed that employers in the U.S. added 175,000 jobs in February. That exceeded the median estimate of 149,000 net hires in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The government revised its figure for January to 129,000 from 113,000.

A release yesterday showed claims for unemployment benefits fell to a three-month low last week, indicating that companies are holding on to staff because they anticipate economic growth will rebound following the harsh winter weather.

Benchmark indexes retreated in every western-European market except Greece. Germany’s DAX fell 2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 dropped 1.2 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 slipped 1.1 percent.

Getinge slumped 21 percent to 182.80 kronor. The Swedish maker of sterilization systems forecast first-quarter pretax profit of 160 million kronor ($25 million), roughly a quarter of the average analyst estimate of 629 million kronor. A gauge of health-care companies on the Stoxx 600 fell 1.4 percent.

Fugro declined 2.1 percent to 40.83 euros. The Dutch company posted revenue of 2.42 billion euros ($3.4 billion) for last year, less than the 2.63 billion euros that analysts had estimated. Its net income of 428 million euros fell short of the 444 million-euro average in a Bloomberg survey.

Air France-KLM climbed 4.4 percent to 10.40 euros, rising for the fourth day to its highest price since July 2011. Europe’s largest airline said it flew 5.34 million passengers in February, a 1.8 percent increase from a year earlier.

FLSmidth & Co. added 2.5 percent to 295.60 kroner. The Danish mining-equipment supplier named Lars Vestergaard as its new chief financial officer, saying Ben Guren will leave the company for personal reasons.

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