Stocks fall on disappointing results
European stocks fell for the fifth day in six as industrial production dropped the most in at least three years, Greece's recession deepened, and company results disappointed investors.
ICAP retreated 9.7 per cent after the world's largest broker of transactions between banks reported a slump in earnings.
Mediaset declined 3.2 per cent after the broadcaster cut its full-year profit forecast. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena slid 4.6 per cent after posting an unexpected loss.
The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.4 per cent to 269.48 at 2.45pm in London, extending its decline since the re-election of President Barack Obama on November 6 to 1.9 per cent as investors turned their attention to the so-called US fiscal cliff and Europe’s debt crisis.
“The market is still preoccupied with the same things - Greece and the negotiations going on there, Spain keeps bubbling along in the background as to when they will ask for a bailout and the US fiscal cliff,” said Andrea Williams, head of European equities at Royal London Asset Management which oversees about $1 billion.
"We are also coming towards the tail end of the reporting season in Europe, you've had a few disasters but generally they have been there or thereabouts."
Euro-area industrial production dropped the most in more than three years in September, led by double-digit declines in Portugal and Ireland.
Output fell 2.5 per cent from August, when it increased 0.9 per cent, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said today.
Greece's economy contracted for a 17th straight quarter, as the country's slump deepened amid austerity measures tied to its bailouts.
Gross domestic product declined 7.2 per cent in the third quarter from the same period last year after dropping 6.3 percent in the second, the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority said in an e-mailed statement today.
In the UK, jobless claims rose at the fastest pace in more than a year, increasing by 10,100 to 1.58 million in October.
National benchmark indexes declined in nine of the 18 western-European markets today. France's CAC 40 slipped 0.3 per cent, Germany's DAX lost 0.4 per cent, while the UK’s FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent.
Spain's IBEX 35 increased 0.6 per cent after the office of European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said he will make a statement on Spain this afternoon.