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European stocks declined the most in a month, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index falling from a six-year high, as technology companies tumbled.
The Stoxx 600 fell 1.2 percent.
“The favorites of the past few months, such as technology and biotechnology stocks, seem to be losing some of the glamor,” said Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, Switzerland. “There are some big question marks around the fair valuation of these shares, hence we’re seeing a bit of a shift into more defensive stocks.”
The Stoxx 600 dropped today after rising for a ninth day on April 4, the longest streak since October, amid merger and acquisition activity and as U.S. payrolls and manufacturing increased optimism that the world’s largest economy is strengthening.
National benchmark indexes retreated in all western-European markets today, except Iceland.
FTSE 100 6,622.84 -72.71 -1.09% CAC 40 4,436.08 -48.47 -1.08% DAX 9,510.85 -184.92 -1.91%
Technology shares in the Stoxx 600 rallied 128 percent from their low in March 2009 through a six-year high on April 2, beating the 111 percent increase for the broader equity index. The Stoxx 600 Technology Index traded at 20.5 times estimated earnings at the end of last week, compared with 14.8 for the broader gauge.
United Internet declined 4.1 percent to 34.14 euros, and ARM Holdings lost 2.3 percent to 973.5 pence. Iliad SA slid 5.5 percent to 198.50 euros.
Osram Licht retreated 6.7 percent to 44.36 euros. Berenberg Bank cut the lighting manufacturer to hold from buy, meaning it no longer recommends acquiring shares. The brokerage said the transition to LED light may create more of a headwind than originally predicted for the lamps and luminaries unit.
Altice jumped 11 percent to 33.57 euros, while Bouygues lost 6.3 percent to 28.88 euros. Cable billionaire Patrick Drahi’s Altice will pay 13.5 billion euros in cash and give Vivendi 20 percent of the company created from a merger of its Numericable Group with SFR. Vivendi will receive an extra 750 million euros if earnings targets are met, the companies said in separate releases. Vivendi added 0.3 percent to 20.61 euros.
Alfa Laval AB gained 1.3 percent to 179.90 kronor. The maker of heat exchangers agreed to buy Norwegian pumpmaker Frank Mohn AS for 13 billion kroner ($2.2 billion) in cash to capture spending in offshore oil and gas drilling.
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