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15.04.2014 17:21

European stocks close

European stocks declined, erasing their gains for the year, after a report that Russian troops entered towns in eastern Ukraine, and as German confidence data missed economists’ forecasts.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1 percent to 326.58 at the close of trading. The gauge rebounded yesterday amid better-than-estimated U.S. retail sales data and earnings from Citigroup Inc., after last week erasing most of the year’s gains as investors sold technology shares on valuation concerns. The equity benchmark has declined 0.5 percent so far this year.

In Germany, a gauge of investor confidence fell for a fourth month in April. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, slid to 43.2 from 46.6 in March. Economists had forecast a decline to 45.

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s so-called Empire State manufacturing index declined to 1.29 this month from 5.61 in March. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast an increase to 8.

National benchmark indexes retreated in all of the western-European markets except Norway. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.6 percent, Germany’s DAX lost 1.8 percent, while France’s CAC 40 declined 0.9 percent.

SABMiller lost 2.3 percent to 3,052.5 pence. The world’s second-biggest brewer said its 39.6 percent holding in hotel and casino operator Tsogo Sun is not a core part of its operations.

Rio Tinto fell 3.1 percent to 3,302.5 pence. The world’s second-largest mining company said first-quarter iron ore production rose 8 percent to 52.3 million metric tons from 48.3 million tons a year earlier. That missed the 54.7 million-ton median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA plunged 10 percent to 22.5 euro cents, for its biggest drop since March 2012. Italy’s third-largest bank said it may increase the size of a planned share sale to reimburse part of a 4.1 billion-euro ($5.7 billion) government bailout.

L’Oreal advanced 1.1 percent to 122 euros. The world’s largest cosmetics maker said first-quarter revenue gained 2.8 percent in western Europe, excluding currency shifts and acquisitions, while southern European sales grew for the first time in six years.

Sodexo climbed 3.3 percent to 77.36 euros. Deutsche Bank AG raised its recommendation on the world’s second-largest catering company to buy from hold, citing expected strong earnings growth, increased operational efficiencies and the potential for cash returns.

Market Focus

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  • Eurozone: Consumer Confidence, January -4.9
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