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European stocks declined, paring their advance this week, as SAP AG slid after posting worse-than-forecast earnings and sales, outweighing gains by carmakers. U.S. index futures slipped, while Asian shares rose.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 0.3 percent to 329.86 at 10:53 a.m. in London as diplomats from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union meet for talks in Geneva today. The benchmark has still added 0.3 percent this week. It has fallen 2.8 percent from this year’s high on April 4 amid a confrontation between Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists in the country’s eastern region.
“Investors are very cautious because of Ukraine and Russia,” Christian Stocker, a senior strategist at UniCredit Bank AG in Munich, said by phone. “We hope the meeting in Geneva will give some hints as to whether the U.S. and Europe impose real economic sanctions on Russia. SAP missed estimates and the stock’s in the red. The technology sector is suffering a bit because of high valuations.”
In the U.S., Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is committed to maintaining an appropriate level of monetary accommodation to support the country’s economic recovery. Investors should watch shortfalls in both inflation and the jobless rate for indications on the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision on the federal-funds rate, she said in New York after European markets closed yesterday.
Separately, the central bank’s Beige Book business survey showed that eight of its 12 districts experienced “modest or moderate” growth based on reports gathered before April 7. The FOMC next meets on April 29-30 to discuss monetary policy.
SAP declined 3.3 percent to 56.52 euros after the world’s largest maker of business software reported first-quarter operating profit, excluding some items, of 919 million euros ($1.3 billion) on sales of 3.7 billion euros. Analysts on average had predicted earnings of 975 million euros and revenue of 3.8 billion euros.
Akzo Nobel plunged 6.7 percent to 53.08 euros after posting sales of 3.38 billion euros, trailing the 3.44 billion-euro average analyst estimate. The world’s largest maker of paint also reported first-quarter net income of 129 million euros, exceeding the 116 million-euro average estimate of analysts.
Remy Cointreau dropped 3.1 percent to 61.01 euros after saying that adjusted operating profit probably declined by 35 percent to 40 percent in the financial year through March. It had predicted a drop of at least 10 percent. The maker of Remy Martin cognac also said annual organic sales fell 11 percent, wider than the 9.7 percent drop predicted by analysts. Remy posts its full-years results on June 5.
Diageo Plc slipped 4.1 percent to 1,823 pence after the world’s biggest distiller said sales, excluding acquisitions and currency swings, fell 1.3 percent in the third quarter of its financial year. The median projection of analysts had called for an increase of 1.8 percent.
Pernod Ricard SA, Europe’s second-largest distiller, retreated 3.5 percent to 84.99 euros. A gauge of food and beverage stocks posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
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