European Stocks Decline as Investors Assess Valuations

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By Sofia Horta e Costa

European stocks declined as investors weighed equity valuations after the Stoxx Europe 600 Index completed its fourth weekly rally. U.S stock-index futures and Asian shares were little changed.

Electrolux AB gained 6.2 percent after purchasing General Electric Co.’s appliances division. Air France-KLM Group advanced 0.9 percent after saying it carried more passengers in August. Associated British Foods Plc slipped 3.6 percent as full-year Primark sales missed analysts’ estimates.

The Stoxx 600 slipped 0.4 percent to 346.3 at 8:13 a.m. in London. The gauge climbed 1.6 percent last week, touching a two-month high after the European Central Bank cut all three of its main interest rates and said it would start buying securitized debt. Stocks trimmed gains on Sept. 5 amid concern that the stimulus measures aren’t enough to spur the economic recovery. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures lost 0.2 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose less than 0.1 percent.

Europe’s equity benchmark has still rebounded 6.6 percent from a four-month low on Aug. 8 on expectations of an ECB policy boost. It trades at 15.5 times the projected earnings of its members, up from a multiple of 14.7 one month ago. That’s near a valuation of 15.7 times, reached in July, which was the highest since the end of 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

All but two of the 18 western-European national benchmarks rose last week. Germany’s DAX jumped 2.9 percent for its best week since March, while France’s CAC 40 advanced 2.4 percent. The FTSE MIB in Italy rallied 4.6 percent, its largest increase in 16 months. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent, taking it near its highest close since 1999, for the longest weekly winning streak since November.

Investor Confidence

A report from the Sentix research institute at 10:30 a.m. Frankfurt time may show euro-area investor confidence deteriorated in September to the lowest level in 13 months, economists predicted. An index measuring sentiment in the currency bloc probably fell to 1.4 from 2.7 in August, according to the median projection.

Electrolux (ELUXB), the world’s second-biggest appliance maker, advanced 6.2 percent to 199.20 kronor. The Swedish company is paying $3.3 billion for the GE unit, according to a statement today. It plans to carry out a rights offering for about 25 percent of the price to be paid, upon completion of the deal.

Air France-KLM Group gained 0.9 percent to 8.71 euros. The number of passengers carried in August increased 2.1 percent to 7.3 million, the carrier reported today.

AB Foods slipped 3.6 percent to 2,805 pence. Sales at Primark stores open for at least a year rose about 4.5 percent in the 12 months through Sept. 13, the London-based company said in a statement ahead of detailed full-year results. Analysts had predicted growth of 5.2 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sofia Horta e Costa inLondon at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at[email protected] Alan Soughley

 

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