European Stocks Decline on Threat to Ukraine’s Gas Supply
European stocks slid, completing their first weekly decline since January, as Russia said it may cut off Ukraine’s gas, outweighing a report that showed the U.S. economy created more jobs last month than forecast.
Getinge AB (GETIB) plunged the most since its initial public offering in 1993 after the medical-technology company said that production at its cardiovascular division has suffered disruption. Fugro NV (FUR) slid 2.1 percent after the deepwater-oilfield surveyor reported revenue and profit that missed estimates. Air France-KLM Group climbed 4.4 percent after saying that it transported more passengers in February.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 1.3 percent to 333.06 at the close of trading. The benchmark has fallen 1.5 percent this week amid concern that Russia would intervene in Ukraine, resulting in sanctions and disrupted trade. European equities slid 2.3 percent on March 3 after Russia’s parliament authorized President Vladimir Putin to send troops into Ukraine.
“It seems a further standoff is developing,” Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst at IG Group Holdings Plc in London, wrote in a note. “No one wants to be particularly long heading into the weekend, with the risk of another development in the Ukraine crisis still an eminent possibility.”
Russia said Ukraine must pay off almost $2 billion owed for natural gas today and signaled supplies may otherwise be cut. The two countries have clashed over control of Ukraine’s Crimea region, where a majority of people speak Russian. Lawmakers in Moscow said they would accept the results of a March 16 referendum on Crimea joining Russia, while Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated that his cabinet deems the vote illegal.
A Labor Department report showed that employers in the U.S. added 175,000 jobs in February. That exceeded the median estimate of 149,000 net hires in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The government revised its figure for January to 129,000 from 113,000.
A release yesterday showed claims for unemployment benefits fell to a three-month low last week, indicating that companies are holding on to staff because they anticipate economic growth will rebound following the harsh winter weather.
The number of shares changing hands today in Stoxx 600-listed companies was 15 percent greater than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Getinge slumped 21 percent to 182.80 kronor. The Swedish maker of sterilization systems forecast first-quarter pretax profit of 160 million kronor ($25 million), roughly a quarter of the average analyst estimate of 629 million kronor. A gauge of health-care companies on the Stoxx 600 fell 1.4 percent.
Fugro declined 2.1 percent to 40.83 euros. The Dutch company posted revenue of 2.42 billion euros ($3.4 billion) for last year, less than the 2.63 billion euros that analysts had estimated. Its net income of 428 million euros fell short of the 444 million-euro average in a Bloomberg survey.
Airbus Group NV dropped 3.1 percent to 51.31 euros. British Airways said one of its Airbus jets suffered an engine surge during a flight to France, forcing the pilot to return to London’s Heathrow airport. The U.K.’s flag carrier has 33 of the A319 narrow-body planes in its fleet.
Air France-KLM climbed 4.4 percent to 10.40 euros, rising for the fourth day to its highest price since July 2011. Europe’s largest airline said it flew 5.34 million passengers in February, a 1.8 percent increase from a year earlier.
FLSmidth & Co. added 2.5 percent to 295.60 kroner. The Danish mining-equipment supplier named Lars Vestergaard as its new chief financial officer, saying Ben Guren will leave the company for personal reasons.
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