French Stocks Decline, Led by Renault, LVMH on Japan Earthquake

French stocks dropped as concern grew about the safety of nuclear plants damaged by Japan’s worst earthquake on record.

Renault SA (RNO), which has a stake in Japan’s Nissan Motor Co., fell. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) led declines in luxury goods companies.

France’s CAC 40 Index (CAC) tumbled 134.05, or 3.5 percent, to 3,743.99 at noon in Paris for the biggest decline since June. The index has dropped 9.9 percent from its 2011 high, reached on Feb. 18. The SBF 120 Index retreated 3.4 percent today.

Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the danger of further leaks from a nuclear power plant damaged by the earthquake was increasing. The Bank of Japan added 8 trillion yen ($98 billion) into money markets today, adding to yesterday’s record cash injection, to secure the nation’s financial stability following the March 11 temblor -- updated to a magnitude of 9, from 8.9, by the U.S. Geological Survey -- and subsequent tsunami. Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant was today rocked by two more explosions and a fire.

Renault sank 4.1 percent to 36.63 euros. France’s second- biggest carmaker has a 43 percent stake in Nissan.

LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods company, lost 5.4 percent to 100.90 euros. PPR (PP) SA, the French owner of Gucci and online retailer Redcats, slid 5.7 percent to 99.75 euros. Japan is the world’s second-largest market for luxury goods after the U.S., accounting for 11 percent of global sales, according to consulting firm Bain & Co.

Areva SA (CEI), the world’s largest maker of nuclear reactors, tumbled 8.3 percent to 28.90 euros.

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, retreated 3.5 percent to 27.95 euros. The stock was cut to “sell” from “buy” at Aurel BGC, which predicted that regulators will rewrite the rules governing nuclear power stations in the aftermath of the escape of radioactive steam from Japan’s earthquake-hit atomic power facility.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adria Cimino in Paris at acimino1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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