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The Deal: European Stocks Fall on Tempered Growth Forecasts

LONDON (The Deal) -- European stock markets fell Tuesday while Asian markets were mixed after the European Commission tempered its growth forecasts for the eurozone.
In a regular bulletin, the commission predicted eurozone growth of 1.1% in 2014 after a 0.4% contraction this year and a 0.7% decline last year. It had previously predicted growth of 1.2% next year.
Olli Rehn, the EC's commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said that signs suggest the European economy has reached a turning point. But he said unemployment is still weighing on growth.
The forecast came as Italy's finance minister urged the European Central Bank to cut rates to stem the rise of the euro. The ECB meets on Thursday to set rates and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will speak publicly later Tuesday, with his comments scrutinized for any hint of a softening of his monetary stance.
In Frankfurt, the DAX fell 0.48% to 8,994.05, with Bayerische Motoren Werke, or BMW, falling sharply on posting declines in third-quarter earnings and revenue.
In Paris, the CAC 40 slipped 0.52% to 4,266.37. In London, the FTSE 100 declined 0.61% to 6,722.48. Banks and insurers were among the losers, including RSA Insurance Group, which said weather-related claims in Europe and Canada will mean its 2013 return on equity will probably lag its previous forecast.
Marks & Spencer rose on news that retail entrepreneur Bill Adderley has taken a stake. That disclosure eclipsed the impact of another fall in the retailer's quarterly sales of general merchandise.
In Asia Pacific, the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney gained a boost from Reserve Bank of Australia's comments that the Australian dollar is "uncomfortably high," closing up 0.77% at 5,431.96.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed 0.65% lower at 23,038.95, with HSBC Holdings (HBC) bucking a generally downward trend after a well-received third-quarter earnings report released after Asian markets closed on Monday. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 edged up 0.17% to 14,225,.37. Carmaker Nissan fell more than 10% after it slashed its profit forecast for the fiscal year ending March 14.

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