European Stocks Decline as Investors Await Greek Talks OutcomeAlan Soughley and Inyoung Hwang
European stocks declined amid investor concern that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis won’t reach an agreement on new bailout terms at a meeting with his euro-area counterparts in Brussels.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 percent to 372.04 at the close of trading, after earlier losing as much as 0.5 percent. The yield on three-year Greek notes jumped 125 basis points to 20.76 percent, while the ASE Index lost 4 percent, the most among 18 western-European markets. Benchmark equity indexes in Spain and Portugal slid at least 1.3 percent.
“At the moment, it’s still about the Greek story,” said Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, Switzerland. “There will likely be some compromise but investors are waiting until there’s a solution. There are still risks out there for equity investors, but they should be buying on the dips.”
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble late Tuesday damped hopes of a compromise at today’s 5:30 p.m. emergency meeting, saying there are no plans to discuss a new agreement. Still, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said there is “no way back” for his government, and he wants a new accord that won’t subject his people to more pain.
Greece is seeking support for a 10 billion-euro ($11.3 billion) bridge plan to stave off a funding crunch and buy time to win an easing in austerity terms from creditors. Any deal would require a softening of Germany’s stance.
Telenor ASA retreated 6.7 percent. The Nordic region’s largest phone operator forecast a margin of no more than 35 percent of sales for this year, lower than in 2014.
Sky Plc slid 2.2 percent after agreeing to pay the bulk of a record 5.14 billion pounds ($7.8 billion) for the U.K. rights to broadcast live English Premier League soccer.
Lonmin Plc dropped 8.3 percent, the most since October 2009, after Glencore Plc said it’s planning to distribute its 23.9 percent holding in the platinum producer to its own shareholders.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S slumped 8.6 percent after the lower end of its 2015 revenue and margin forecasts fell short of last year’s figures.
Tullow Oil Plc fell 7.2 percent. The Africa-focused U.K. explorer that’s shed half its value in a year swung to a loss in 2014 because of declining oil prices. It suspended its dividend.
BG Group Plc and Eni SpA retreated more than 2 percent, dragging a measure of energy stocks to the biggest loss of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600. Oil prices fell as U.S. crude stockpiles and output increased to the highest level in more than three decades.
Aena SA soared 21 percent on its debut, after stock in the Spanish airport operator was sold at the top end of its price range in Europe’s biggest initial public offering in almost four years.
Norsk Hydro ASA added 1.2 percent after Europe’s third-biggest producer of aluminum posted a narrower net loss and higher-than-estimated revenue for the fourth quarter.
ING Groep NV rose 3.7 percent. The Dutch financial-services company plans to pay a dividend for the first time in almost seven years after repaying a state bailout, even as profit from its banking activities fell in the fourth quarter.
Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc added 3.3 percent. The consumer-products maker plans a cost-saving initiative to counter tough market conditions, as fourth-quarter sales growth beat estimates.