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Europe: Stocks decline as focus turns to weekend Greek meeting
[LONDON] European stocks fell for a third day, paring a weekly gain, as euro-area leaders told their finance ministers to find a solution to the Greek debt impasse at weekend talks.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 0.7 per cent to 393.57 at 8:09 am in London. Stocks extended a selloff Thursday as the region's leaders differed on how Greek discussions were progressing. French President Francois Hollande held out hope of a deal, while German Chancellor Angel Merkel said talks looked to be going backward.
Finance ministers reconvene Saturday after the failure of Thursday's negotiations. Merkel said the weekend gathering will be decisive. Differences over pensions, sales-tax rates, debt relief and corporate taxes are the main sticking points.
With no follow-on financing in place, Greece may struggle to pay 1.5 billion euros it owes the International Monetary Fund at the end of the month. Failure to close a deal by the weekend raises the odds that Greece might have to impose capital controls to prevent a run on its banks.
Among stocks moving on corporate news, ARM Holdings Plc dropped 2.6 per cent after Sanford C Bernstein cut its rating on the chip designer to underperform, similar to sell.
K+S AG soared 37 per cent. People familiar with the matter said the German potash supplier is likely to reject a takeover offer from Canadian fertilizer producer Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc because it deems the bid to be too low.
Tesco Plc added 2.6 per cent after the UK's biggest supermarket chain posted a smaller-than-forecast decline in quarterly sales.