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European Stocks Decline as Portuguese Debt Concern Increases

European stocks had their biggest weekly decline in eight weeks as concern mounted that peripheral euro area countries can’t repay their debt and North Korea fired shells on South Korea for the first time since the 1950-53 war.

Banks and insurers led the decline as investors waited to find out how much Ireland will borrow from the European bailout fund and as the cost of insuring Portuguese government debt rose to a record. Bank of Ireland Plc tumbled 45 percent, the largest weekly drop in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Banco Santander SA plunged 12 percent and BNP Paribas SA lost 8.5 percent.