European Stocks Decline Before U.S. Data, Ukraine Talks

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European stocks retreated, after the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rallied to a two-month high, before U.S. jobs data and cease-fire talks in Ukraine. U.S stock-index futures were little changed, while Asian shares fell.

London Stock Exchange Group Plc slipped 2.5 percent as Borse Dubai Ltd prepares to sell a stake in the exchange. BASF SE (BAS) slid 1.1 percent after a U.S. court ordered it to face accusations it fraudulently hid evidence that its talc products contained asbestos.

The Stoxx 600 dropped 0.3 percent to 347.96 at 9:09 a.m. in London, extending declines and paring its weekly gain to 1.7 percent. The gauge jumped 1.1 percent yesterday, closing at its highest level since July 3, after the European Central Bank’s surprise decision to reduce all three of its main interest rates along with a program to buy a broad portfolio of transparent securities. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index contracts lost 0.2 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.4 percent.

“Everyone is looking for the U.S. jobs report and then most importantly for Europe, what is happening in the Ukraine,” Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Hellerup, Denmark, said in a telephone interview. “There is no doubt that the sanctions and the tensions between Russia and Europe has had an impact and taken its toll on investments and economic activity.”

In the U.S., the monthly Labor Department jobs report to be released at 8:30 a.m. in Washington will show that companies boosted payrolls in August by 230,000, marking the seventh straight month of gains in excess of 200,000, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Ukraine Talks

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed “careful optimism” that talks today with pro-Russian rebels in Minsk, Belarus, will set the course for a cease-fire after more than five months of fighting. After Poroshenko met yesterday with leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the alliance’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it’s too early to tell whether peace overtures by Russian President Vladimir Putin are genuine.

In Brussels today, representatives of the 28 EU governments will consider tightening the economic sanctions that were imposed on Russia in July.

ECB President Mario Draghi signaled at least 700 billion euros ($906 billion) of fresh aid for the euro-area economy, which probably saw no growth in the second quarter from the first, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists before gross domestic product data due today.

LSE slipped 2.5 percent to 2,033 pence. Borse Dubai is selling a 3.1 percent stake — about 8.5 million shares — in the exchange, according to a term sheet.

BASF dropped 1.1 percent to 78 euros. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia revived a suit alleging a unit of BASF, and law firm Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP systematically concealed damaging evidence and manufactured documents to defeat claims that its talc contained cancer-causing asbestos.

 

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