European stocks fell for the fourth day in five after Italy auctioned bonds and Moody's Investors Service said the American government may lose the Aaa credit rating it's held since 1917.
Petrofac Ltd, the UK-based oilfield services and engineering provider, decreased 2.9 per cent as Barclays Plc advised selling the shares. Software AG plunged 14 per cent, its largest slide in more than two years, after posting a decline in sales. SAP AG, the world's biggest business-software maker, lost 2.6 per cent.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index sank 0.7 per cent to 268.17 in London. The gauge has fallen 2.8 per cent this week amid concern that the sovereign-debt crisis in Europe will spread to the larger economies of Italy and Spain.
"Moody's action overnight was a response to the small but rising risk of a short-lived default," wrote Jim Reid, a global strategist at Deutsche Bank AG in London, in a report yesterday. "Moody's is now the rating agency putting most pressure on Congress to act."
Moody's put the US on review for the first time since 1995 as talks to raise the country's $14.3 trillion debt limit stalled, adding to concern that political gridlock will lead to default. Even a temporary default will probably have "large systemic effects" on the economy and Treasury finances by disrupting money funds, the repurchase-agreement market and foreign investors' willingness to buy the government's debt, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.
European stocks recouped some losses after JPMorgan Chase & Co's second-quarter earnings topped estimates.
Germany's Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen snubbed the European Union's bank stress tests, refusing to give the European Banking Authority permission to publish all of its data. The stress test results will be published tomorrow after the close of European equity markets.
National benchmark indexes declined in every western European market except Greece and Iceland yesterday. The UK FTSE 100 Index slid 0.5 per cent, Germany's DAX Index declined 0.4 per cent and France's CAC 40 Index retreated 0.7 per cent.
Petrofac dropped 2.9 per cent to 1,459 pence after the company was downgraded to "underweight" from "equal weight" at Barclays.
Software AG tumbled 14 per cent to €36.02 for the biggest decline in the Stoxx 600 as Germany's second-largest maker of business software reported second-quarter revenue that missed analysts' estimates due to currency moves and its failure to sell licenses.
Software AG also said that demand to implement products from SAP fell from the same period a year earlier. SAP dropped 2.6 per cent to €40.97.
Accor SA and Intercontinental Hotels Group Plc fell 1.1 per cent to €29.96 and 2.1 per cent to 1,255 pence, respectively, after rival Marriott forecast third-quarter earnings of 25 to 29 cents per share. That fell short of analysts' estimates for earnings per share of 30 cents.
Daily Mail & General Trust Plc slumped 4.7 per cent to 418.6 pence after saying that advertising sales declined 7 per cent in the 13 weeks through July 3.
Mothercare Plc decreased 1.6 per cent to 404 pence as first- quarter UK comparative sales declined 4.3 per cent.
Storebrand ASA surged 6.1 per cent to 46.72 crowns for the biggest gain on the Stoxx 600.
Italy sold five-year bonds at the highest yield in three years. The Treasury priced €1.25 billion (Dh6.60 billion) of 2016 bonds yesterday at an average yield of 4.93 per cent, compared with a yield of 3.9 per cent at a previous auction on June 14. The Mediterranean nation's Senate votes on budget cuts late last night to tame a debt burden that is the second largest in Europe and which prompted investors to drive borrowing costs to a 14-year high of 6.02 per cent on Tuesday.
Greece's credit rating was cut three levels to Fitch Ratings' lowest grade for any country in the world as the company followed rivals and said that a default is a "real possibility."
The Stoxx 600 has rallied 87 per cent including dividend income since March 2009 as governments and central banks from Washington to London enacted emergency stimulus measures to revive the economy.
From / Gulf News