French Stocks Retreat: Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, Lagardere Slide

France’s CAC 40 Index declined 152.79, or 3.8 percent, to 3,844.60 in Paris for the biggest decrease in a year. The SBF 120 Index dropped 3.5 percent.

The indexes slid after Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings on Greece to ‘BB+’ and ‘B’, respectively, from ‘BBB+’ and ‘A-2’.

Stocks also fell, led by banks, amid concern Greece will ask investors to accept delayed or reduced payments on its debt and that its deficit crisis may spread.

The country is likely to default or inflict “significant” losses on bondholders unless it receives more generous terms on its planned aid package, according to Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup Inc.

Credit Agricole SA, France’s biggest bank by branches, lost 6.4 percent to 11.44 euros.

BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank by assets, plunged 7 percent to 50.73 euros. Societe Generale SA, the country’s second-biggest bank, declined 6 percent to 41.05 euros.

The following shares rose or fell in Paris. Stock symbols are in parentheses.

April Group (APR FP) sank 6.6 percent to 24.90 euros, declining the most since September. The Lyon-based insurance broker said first-quarter revenue fell 9.6 percent to 184 million euros.

ArcelorMittal (MT NA), the world’s biggest steelmaker, retreated 3.8 percent to 31.22 euros as metals prices fell in London.

Cie. Generale de Geophysique-Veritas (GA FP), the world’s largest seismic surveyor, lost 4.7 percent to 23.80 euros, the biggest drop in nearly 12 weeks. The stock was cut to “reduce” from “add” at AlphaValue.

Lagardere SCA (MMB FP) dropped 6.1 percent to 29.72 euros, the biggest decline in nearly seven weeks. The biggest French publisher announced at its AGM that activist investor Guy Wyser- Pratte didn’t win election to the board after receiving 22 percent support.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adria Cimino in Paris at

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