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02/04/2012 12:00 - European stocks fluctuate

On Monday European stocks fluctuated between gains and losses as continued concern about the euro area’s debt crisis offset an expansion in Chinese manufacturing. U.S. index futures and Asian shares were little changed.

 

Credit Agricole SA and Societe Generale SA led a selloff in banks, falling more than 2 percent. ING Groep NV paced insurers lower, retreating 2.1 percent. Cookson Group Plc rallied 4.5 percent after the Sunday Times reported the world’s biggest maker of ceramic linings for metal smelters may spin off its electronics unit.

 

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 263.12 at 11:07 a.m. in London, after earlier climbing as much as 0.6 percent and retreating 0.4 percent.

 

European stocks declined last week as S&P said that Greece may have to restructure its debt again and a European Central Bank policy maker said a bigger bailout package will not solve the fiscal crisis. Even so, the gauge climbed 7.7 percent in the first quarter, its best start to a year since 2006.

 

Finance ministers from the 17-member monetary union unveiled a package including 500 billion euro in fresh bailout funds on top of 300 billion euros already committed to rescue programs. The total doubles when more than 1 trillion euros lent by the ECB to aid the region’s banks is included.

 

Japanese stocks rose, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average closing higher for the first time in four days, as stronger-than-forecast U.S. consumer sentiment and spending bolstered optimism on the global economic recovery.  The Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent to 10,109.87 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, with volume 7.6 percent lower than the 30-day average. The broader Topix Index added 0.2 percent to 856.05, paring gains in the final minutes of trading after rising as much as 1 percent as the Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey showed companies are skeptical the yen will continue to depreciate.

 

 

This article was compiled by Valletta Fund Management Limited, a member of the BOV Group. Valletta Fund Management, TG Complex, Suite 2, Level 3, Brewery Str., Mriehel BKR 3000.  Freephone: 80072344. email: infovfm@bov.com Internet address: www.vfm.com.mt. Valletta Fund Management Limited is licensed by the MFSA.