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European stocks declined, following their first weekly drop since January, on rising tensions over Ukraine’s Crimea region and after an unexpected slump in Chinese exports triggered a selloff in mining stocks.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.5 percent. The benchmark gauge slid 1.5 percent last week as company earnings disappointed and concern grew that the standoff between Russia and Ukraine would escalate.
In China, overseas shipments unexpectedly dropped 18.1 percent in February from a year earlier, according to customs data on March 8. The median estimate of analysts called for an increase of 7.5 percent.
National benchmark indexes dropped in 12 of the 18 western-European markets today.
FTSE 100 6,689.45 -23.22 -0.35% CAC 40 4,370.84 +4.42 +0.10% DAX 9,265.5 -85.25 -0.91%
Vodafone Group Plc fell 3.4 percent to 230.5 pence. Expansion said the phone company could offer as much as 7.5 billion euros for Grupo Corporativo Ono SA. The Spanish newspaper cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The British company on March 5 raised its bid to about 7 billion euros in a meeting with key Ono shareholders Providence Equity Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, two people familiar with the matter said.
Aryzta AG declined 3.5 percent to 71.40 Swiss francs. The supplier of bakery products said its first-half ">Iliad jumped 11 percent to 210 euros. Bouygues said it is in exclusive talks to sell part of its network and wireless spectrum to the Free operator for as much as 1.8 billion euros ($2.5 billion). Bouygues climbed 8.5 percent to 32.64 euros.
Bouygues, the construction and telecommunications company seeking to merge its mobile-phone assets with Vivendi SA’s SFR, said the negotiations will help address concerns of the French Competition Authority. Vivendi added 0.1 percent to 20.34 euros.
Rolls-Royce climbed 1.3 percent to 1,039 pence. Daimler is selling its holding in Rolls-Royce Power Systems under a put option agreed with the maker of commercial-jet engines when the venture was established three years ago. The stake is valued at 1.9 billion pounds ($3.2 billion). Daimler fell 1.2 percent to 66.66 euros.
Hochtief AG rose 2.4 percent to 69.99 euros. Germany’s largest builder offered A$1.16 billion ($1.05 billion) to raise its stake in Leighton Holdings Ltd. to as much as 74 percent from 59 percent. Hochtief said the deal was a strategic investment in Australia’s largest builder and it may consider a full takeover. Leighton surged 11 percent to A$23.09.
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