European stocks declined this week, with the STOXX Europe 600 Index posting its worst start to a year since 2010, amid earnings results that missed analysts’ estimates and a rout in emerging-market currencies.
BG Group PLC plunged 19 percent after the UK oil and gas producer said 2013 earnings would be lower than forecast.
Diageo PLC lost 7.5 percent after the world’s biggest distiller reported sales growth that missed estimates.
Lanxess AG climbed 8.3 percent after the chemical maker named Merck KGaA’s finance chief as its chief executive officer. Merck tumbled 13 percent.
The STOXX 600 dropped 0.7 percent to 322.52 this week, bringing its monthly decline to 1.8 percent. The benchmark index fell for a second week as emerging-market currencies slid and the US Federal Reserve reduced the size of its monthly bond purchases for a second consecutive time.
“We are in risk-off mode as there are concerns that problems in some emerging markets could spill over,” said Thomas Muhlberger, a fund manager who helps oversee 400 million euros (US$540 million) at Johannes Fuhr Asset Management in Frankfurt. “This has resulted in selling, especially in oil companies.”
National benchmark indices fell in 13 of the 18 western-European markets this week.
Germany’s DAX lost 0.9 percent this week, and the FTSE 100 in the UK dropped 2.3 percent. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent.