European stocks declined, extending last week’s retreat, as the Group of 20 nations rejected calls from the euro area to boost the International Monetary Fund’s resources. Asian shares and U.S. index futures also retreated.
AP Moeller-Maersk (MAERSKB) A/S slipped 2.2 percent after saying that its container division will make a loss this year. Airlines decreased as crude oil traded near a nine-month high. Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) tumbled 5.2 percent as the company unveiled new devices at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) slid 0.8 percent to 262.55 at 10:32 a.m. in London, extending last week’s 0.4 percent retreat. More than seven stocks fell for every one that rose. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPH2) expiring next month dropped 0.5 percent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.8 percent.
“I don’t think the market really anticipated the G-20 would come up with anything different,” said Jeremy Batstone- Carr, head of research at Charles Stanley & Co. in London. “The fact of that matter is -- as it stands -- the firewall is still insufficient. The higher oil price is another uncertainty in investors’ minds and it is contributing to this slightly risk- off day today.”
G-20 officials told the euro area’s political leaders to provide more financial firepower before they consider lending outside support, putting the onus on Germany, already the biggest national contributor to the bailouts.
Germany went to the Mexico meetings of finance ministers and central bankers urging G-20 nations to find further money that the IMF could channel to the euro area.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, who attended the talks, said she wants to increase the fund’s lending capacity by $500 billion so that it can fend off “further shocks” to the global economy.
Germany’s Bailout Vote
Germany’s parliament holds a vote on a second Greek aid package in Berlin today. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government must decide whether to back plans at a March 1-2 European Union summit to combine rescue funds for the euro area and produce a potential firewall of 750 billion euros ($1 trillion).
The Stoxx 600 (SXXP)rose for the first time in four days on Feb. 24, as companies from Telecom Italia SpA to Eiffage SA said they will cut their debt in 2012 and new house sales in the U.S. beat economists’ estimates. The gauge has climbed 7.4 percent this year buoyed by U.S. economic reports and as investors speculated that Europe will contain its debt crisis.
Seventy-eight companies on the Stoxx 600 (SXXP) are scheduled to report financial results this week, including nine companies today. Of the 213 that have reported quarterly earnings so far, 108 have missed analysts’ estimates, while 94 have beaten them, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Maersk, Air France
Maersk (MAERSKB) slid 2.2 percent to 44,520 kroner after the shipping company posted a 43 percent drop in 2011 profit to 15.2 billion kroner ($2.8 billion). That compared with the average analyst estimate of 14.8 billion kroner. Falling freight rates pushed its container line to a loss in 2011. The company said that the division will also lose money this year.
Air France-KLM (AF) Group dropped 3.1 percent to 4.32 euros as crude oil traded near a nine-month high of $109.77 a barrel in New York. Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) lost 3.2 percent to 10.09 euros and Carnival Plc slid 1 percent to 1,853 pence.
Prices gained the most in two months last week as sanctions tightened against Iran, OPEC’s second-biggest producer. The contract for April delivery fell 1 percent to $108.73 a barrel today as investors speculated that prices may have climbed too far.
Nokia, Essar Energy
Nokia sank 5.2 percent to 4.10 euros after the world’s third-largest smartphone maker by shipments revealed its latest devices. They included the Lumia 610, which is 30 percent less expensive than Nokia’s current cheapest phone running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system. The shares rallied 5.6 percent on Feb. 24 after the company said it would announce “significant industry news” at the MWC.
Essar Energy Plc (ESSR) tumbled 8.6 percent to 115.2 pence after the Indian power producer and oil refiner said it made a loss after taxes of $568 million in 2011 after the Supreme Court of India overturned a decision to defer payment of sales taxes.
Associated British Foods Plc (ABF) fell 2.5 percent to 1,188 pence after the world’s second-biggest sugar producer forecast that first-half profit will exceed the previous year.
BP Plc (BP/) rose 1.5 percent to 503.5 pence after three people familiar with the talks said the company and plaintiffs suing over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill have discussed a $14 billion accord that the company would fund with money originally set aside for out-of-court settlements.