European Stocks Drop From 22 Month-High; Richemont FallsTom Stoukas and Namitha Jagadeesh
European stocks declined from a 22-month high as European Central Bank policy makers kept the benchmark interest rate at a record low.
Cie. Financiere Richemont SA fell 2.1 percent after peer Tiffany & Co. said full-year earnings will be at the lower end of its forecast. Sanofi lost 0.7 percent after U.S. regulators cut the recommended dosage of some drugs including those sold by the French company. Nokia Oyj surged 11 percent after saying its handset business probably saw a profit in the fourth quarter.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 0.3 percent to 287.44 at the close of trading. The gauge last week surged 3.3 percent after U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget to prevent most scheduled tax increases and delay spending cuts.
“We’ve seen a slightly less accommodating ECB in terms of movement on rates,” said Michael Hewson, a market analyst at CMC Markets Plc in London. “That caution has been tempered by concerns about the economic outlook. Markets are at multi-month highs. Given how skittish investors are, it wouldn’t take much to trigger a small sell-off.”
The volume of shares changing hands on Stoxx 600 companies was 85 percent higher than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
ECB policy makers meeting in Frankfurt today left the benchmark rate at a record low of 0.75 percent, as predicted by 50 out of 55 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.
“A gradual recovery should start” later this year as the lender’s measures work their way through the euro-area economy, ECB President Mario Draghi said at a news conference in Frankfurt after the rate announcement.
The Bank of England also held its interest rate at a record-low 0.5 percent, in line with economists’ predictions.
National benchmark indexes rose in 10 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 was little changed. France’s CAC 40 retreated 0.4 percent and Germany’s DAX declined 0.2 percent.
Richemont, the world’s biggest luxury jewelry maker, retreated 2.1 percent to 76 Swiss francs after Tiffany said full-year profit excluding some items will be at the lower end of its previous forecast of $3.20 to $3.40 a share.
Sanofi, whose Ambien drug uses zolpidem, declined 0.7 percent to 73.34 euros after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration lowered women’s recommended dosage of sleep aids containing the ingredient.
CaixaBank, the Spanish lender that yesterday sold 1 billion euros of three-year senior debt, fell 5.5 percent to 2.98 euros after rising 12 percent on Wednesday.
Nokia surged 11 percent to 3.32 euros. The Finnish mobile-phone maker seeking to reverse falling sales said operating profit at its handset unit, excluding some items, was at a break-even level or as much as 2 percent of sales. In October, the company projected an operating loss for the unit of 6 percent of sales, plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Tesco gained 1.8 percent to 355.4 pence. The U.K.’s biggest grocer reported the strongest sales growth since 2010 as money-off coupons and an enhanced food offering helped spark a revival. U.K. sales at stores open at least a year rose 1.8 percent in the six weeks ended Jan. 5, excluding gasoline and value-added taxes.
ARM Holdings Plc, whose chip designs power Apple’s iPhones, added 4.4 percent to 863.5 pence after Dialog Semiconductor reported a 56 percent increase in fourth-quarter revenue to $268 million.
MAN SE gained 3.5 percent to 86.94 euros. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, will offer to buy out the rest of the German truckmaker’s shareholders to take full control of the company.