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MONDAY, 21 APR 2014
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Europe stocks post biggest weekly loss in five months
Bloomberg
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi attends the G20 finance ministers meeting during the Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, April 19, 2013. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi attends the G20 finance ministers meeting during the Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, April 19, 2013. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
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European stocks posted the biggest weekly loss in five months as data from the U.S. to China and Germany missed estimates, prompting a sell-off in the shares of commodity producers.

Polymetal International PLC slumped 17 percent, leading precious-metal producers lower, as gold declined for a fourth week and silver for a sixth. EON SE and RWE AG, Germany’s largest utilities, tumbled 9 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Nokia Oyj lost 12 percent after posting sales that trailed projections. Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. jumped 17 percent after shareholder Alexander Machkevitch said he’s holding preliminary talks to make a takeover offer.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 2.5 percent to 285.21 this week. The gauge has slid 2.9 percent so far in April, heading for the first monthly loss since May 2012, as data signaled that the economic rebound in the U.S. has slowed, and the European Central Bank said risks to the euro area’s recovery remain.

“We’ve had poor data in China, Germany and especially the U.S.,” Henrik Drusebjerg, a senior strategist at Nordea Bank AB in Copenhagen, where he helps oversee $220 billion, said. “If investors were looking for signs of a pause in growth, those concerns have been confirmed. The fall in commodities is a result of these disappointing growth figures.”

National benchmark indexes dropped in all western European markets except Greece and Iceland. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 1.5 percent, France’s CAC 40 slid 2.1 percent and Germany’s DAX lost 3.7 percent.

A report from China on April 15 showed the economy grew 7.7 percent in the first quarter, missing the 8 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. March industrial production increased less than estimated, another release showed.

U.S. data showed manufacturing in the region encompassing New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut expanded less than projected. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index slipped to 3.1 in April from 9.2 in March. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey had called for a reading of 7 this month.

Three people were killed and scores injured as two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon race on April 15.

“The Boston bombings did not have a substantial impact on the market but they are adding to a feeling of insecurity,” Drusebjerg said.

In Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, investor confidence slumped more than forecast. An index of investor and analyst expectations published April 16 by the ZEW Center for European Economic Research fell to 36.3 in April from 48.5 last month. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had predicted a reading of 41.

Polymetal sank 17 percent, the biggest weekly loss since the Russian company sold shares to the public in October 2011. Randgold Resources Ltd., a gold miner in Africa, declined 5.9 percent. Fresnillo PLC, the biggest primary silver producer, tumbled 12 percent, the largest drop since September 2011.

Gold plunged the most in 30 years on April 15, while silver traded at an almost 2 1/2-year low.

BHP Billiton Ltd. slid 5.8 percent after the world’s largest mining company said third-quarter iron-ore production rose less than expected.

Rio Tinto Group, the second-biggest, retreated 5.2 percent. A gauge of European commodity producers posted the biggest weekly loss in 11 months.

EON and RWE AG fell 9 percent and 14 percent, respectively, after the European Parliament rejected a proposed change to emission-trading rules that would allow the supply of carbon permits to be curbed temporarily.

Nokia dropped 12 percent after posting a 20 percent drop in first-quarter sales to 5.85 billion euros ($7.6 billion). That missed the average analyst estimate of 6.52 billion euros, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Michael Page International PLC lost 12 percent after the U.K. recruitment company reported a 6.7 percent decline in first-quarter gross profit and predicted that the second quarter will be “challenging.”

ENRC rallied 17 percent. Machkevitch said he and fellow founding shareholders Patokh Chodiev and Alijan Ibragimov may form a group to make a takeover offer. The three investors hold almost 44 percent of ENRC, which has iron-ore, ferro-alloy and power-production operations in Kazakhstan, copper and cobalt businesses in Africa, and a Brazilian iron-ore project.

Hargreaves Lansdown PLC advanced 8.8 percent as the U.K.’s largest retail broker reported record net inflows of 1.8 billion pounds in the third quarter.

ASML Holding NV climbed 5.8 percent. Europe’s largest semiconductor-equipment supplier posted first-quarter sales of 892 million euros, topping the 874 million-euro analyst estimate. The company also announced a share buyback of as much as 1 billion euros.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 20, 2013, on page 5.
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