EDF, the biggest operator of nuclear reactors, and Diageo, the largest liquor maker, sank more than 7 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Ltd. lost 3.5 percent as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he needs time to work out details of a bank-rescue plan. Treasuries rose for a fourth day, while gold traded near a six-month high in London as investors sought a haven as the economy deteriorates.
The MSCI World Index dropped for a third day, losing 0.7 percent at 1:36 p.m. in London. The gauge of 23 developed countries had rallied 5.8 percent in the previous five days on optimism that global stimulus packages, a financial-rescue plan from Barack Obama’s administration and interest-rate cuts would help lift the U.S., Europe and Japan out of recessions.
European stocks pared their decline after government data showed sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly rose in January for the first time in seven months. The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits increased for a fourth straight week, reaching a record.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of 23 developing nations lost 1.5 percent. India’s Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index slipped 1.6 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.6 percent. Russia’s Micex Index decreased 0.2 percent.
Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index slid 1.2 percent as all 19 industry groups except healthcare declined. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.8 percent as Daikin Industries Ltd. cut its profit forecast.