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Monday, 3 March 2014
European Stocks Decline as Tension in Ukraine Increases
By Jonathan MorganMar 3, 2014 12:12 AM PT
European stocks declined, after the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose for a fourth week, amid increasing geopolitical tension over Ukraine, and as a measure of Chinese manufacturing slipped. U.S. futures and Asian shares also fell.
Roche Holding AG lost 2.1 percent after it was advised to end a trial of a lung cancer drug. Bouygues SA slid 2.1 percent after a report that the construction and telecommunications company is planning a bid for Vivendi SA’s phone carrier SFR. Kuehne & Nagel (KNIN) International AG retreated 3.3 percent after reporting financial results.
The Stoxx 600 dropped 1.6 percent to 332.58 at 8:07 a.m. in London. The benchmark index for European stocks last week rose 0.6 percent, completing its longest stretch of weekly gains since November as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pledged to follow her predecessor Ben S. Bernanke’s policy on economic stimulus. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures fell 0.9 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 0.7 percent.
The standoff over Ukraine intensified over the weekend as the former Soviet state put its forces on combat readiness after Russian President Vladimir Putin got parliamentary approval to send troops into its southern neighbor.
U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russia not to intervene. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Ukraine today to offer support as Russian troops occupy the Black Sea region of Crimea.
China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (CPMINDX) for February was 50.2, according to official data released on March 1. That compares with January’s level of 50.5. A number above 50 indicates expansion. A private PMI by HSBC Holdings Plc. and Markit Economics signaled contraction, slipping to 48.5 from 49.5.
An index of euro-area manufacturing output based on a survey of purchasing managers will stay at 53 in February, according to the median estimate of 37 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
A report at 10 a.m. in Washington will show the Institute for Supply Management’s index of U.S. manufacturing rose to 52 in February from 51.3 in January, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Roche lost 2.1 percent to 265.80 Swiss francs. Genentech, a unit of the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, said an independent data monitoring committee recommended that the Phase III METLung study of the lung cancer treatment be halted as it didn’t show any clinical benefits.
Bouygues declined 2.1 percent to 28.60 euros. Chief Executive Officer Martin Bouygues met with French President Francois Hollande on Feb. 27 to seek government support for a purchase of SFR, Le Journal du Dimanche reported, citing people close to the CEO.
Kuehne & Nagel slipped 3.3 percent to 121.40 francs. The world’s biggest sea-freight forwarder reported 2013 earnings before interest and taxes rose 20 percent last year to 761 million francs ($865 million). The average analyst estimate collected by Bloomberg was for 763.8 million francs.