European stocks fell for a fourth day, led by Greece, after the Mediterranean nation became the first country to postpone a payment to the International Monetary Fund since the 1980s.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.9 percent to 389 at the close of trading, extending its lowest level in almost a month. Greece’s ASE Index slipped 5 percent, the worst performance among western-European markets, with National Bank of Greece SA, Eurobank Ergasias SA and Piraeus Bank SA down more than 10 percent. The Stoxx 600 pared losses of as much as 1.4 percent after data showed U.S. payrolls in May increased more than forecast and pay accelerated.
“With Greece missing today’s payment, we’re going to get at least one more month of uncertainty,” Michael Kapler, who manages equities at Mittelbrandenburgische Sparkasse, said by phone from Potsdam, Germany. “It’s a time where people want to unwind risk trades, take profits, and sentiment is being hit. Maybe we’re almost reaching a good entry point, but markets need to find some sort of support.”
The Stoxx 600 fell 2.7 percent this week, posting its first back-to-back weekly losses since January, as talks failed to end the Greek debt stalemate. It’s slipped 6.1 percent since a record in April.
A gauge tracking ASE lenders posted its biggest drop since March 26 after Greece told the IMF it would delay a debt payment of about $339 million due Friday. The country submitted a request to the fund to bundle payments totaling about $1.7 billion due this month into one lump-sum payment.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has rejected proposals by creditors to help unlock more aid to help with repayments. While international officials have reported some progress in working out a deal on the nation’s debt in recent days, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “we’re still far from reaching a conclusion.”
Germany’s DAX Index lost 1.3 percent, extending a decline since its April high to 9.5 percent. The CAC 40 Index slipped 1.3 percent in France and Italian stocks fell 2.1 percent. Switzerland’s SMI Index retreated 1.4 percent, led by a drop in Syngenta AG after Reuters reported a deal with Monsanto may not happen because of antitrust issues. The euro is heading for its first weekly gain in three weeks.
Vodafone Group Plc retreated 2.4 percent after saying it’s in talks with Liberty Global Plc regarding a “possible exchange of selected assets,” rather than a full merger.
Deutsche Bank AG declined 1.7 percent after it was said to be conducting an internal probe into possible money laundering by Russian clients that may involve about $6 billion of transactions.
IG Group Holdings Plc fell 2.5 percent as Reuters reported that a group of clients said the brokerage and betting firm breached U.K. trading rules during the Swiss franc surge earlier this year.