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French Stocks: Areva, Credit Agricole, LVMH, PPR, Renault Move

France’s CAC 40 Index slid 50.64, or 1.3 percent, to 3,878.04 in Paris. The SBF 120 Index also retreated 1.3 percent.

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

Areva SA (CEI FP), the world’s largest maker of nuclear reactors, sank 9.6 percent to 31.50 euros, declining the most in more than two years. Electricite de France SA (EDF FP), the biggest operator of nuclear reactors, tumbled 5.3 percent to 28.96 euros after an atomic power plant north of Tokyo suffered a second hydrogen explosion in the aftermath of Japan’s strongest earthquake on record.

Credit Agricole SA (ACA FP), France’s third-largest bank, jumped 3.3 percent to 12.05 euros. Societe Generale SA (GLE FP), the country’s second-biggest lender, advanced 1.5 percent to 47.46 euros. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded European bank stocks, citing the industry’s recent underperformance and an earlier-than-predicted policy package from the region’s leaders to stem the sovereign-debt crisis.

The brokerage raised its recommendation on bank shares to “overweight” and said investors should fund the change by taking money out of energy stocks, according to a report today. The leaders of the 17 euro nations agreed to let the European Financial Stability Facility buy bonds directly from governments and increased its size to 440 billion euros ($614.7 billion).

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC FP), the world’s largest maker of luxury goods, declined 3.1 percent to 106.60 euros. Hermes International SCA (RMS FP) slipped 3.1 percent to 148.25 euros. PPR SA (PP FP), the French owner of Gucci and online retailer Redcats, slid 2.5 percent to 105.80 euros. Luxury goods makers dropped on concern that sales in Japan will suffer following the earthquake. 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.

Renault SA (RNO FP), France’s second-biggest carmaker, slumped 6.3 percent to 38.18 euros. Renault’s mishandling of an espionage investigation has weakened Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn in a tussle with the French state, its largest shareholder, to decide the carmaker’s future, four people familiar with the matter said.

Renault wants to reduce its 43 percent stake in Nissan Motor Co. and grant the Japanese carmaker voting rights for its 14 percent holding in Renault, according to the same people.

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