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The Deal: European Stocks Slip, Japanese Shares Surge

LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets have been pausing for breath Tuesday morning after Monday's rises. In part that's natural caution after some Asian markets, especially Japan and Korea, continued the U.S. surge overnight, while others --- notably China and Hong Kong --  took a more skeptical approach. China's move to let its currency, the renminbi, stage its biggest one-day fall in two years led some analysts there to believe the central bank may be allowing the currency greater leeway to fluctuate than it has in the past.

But ahead of the U.S. open, European markets have also taken their lead from individual stocks. In Germany, health care group Fresenius led the market down. Fresenius' specialist kidney dialysis subsidiary Fresenius Medical Care saw its profits drop for the first time in 12 years, in part because of cuts in the reimbursement rate for Medicare patients in the U.S. That's going to affect the business in 2014 too, although the company expects further benefit from a cost-cutting program announced last year. Fresenius was down mid-morning by 8.4%.

In London, after reaching its highest close since the dot-com era of 14 years ago, the FTSE 100 retreated this morning on a number of less than positive results. Midcap asset manager Ashmore Group slipped 7.4% on news that its assets under management fell 2.7% in the six months to December 2013, taking down, sector blue chips such as Hargreaves Lansdowne and Aberdeen Asset Management in its wake. Auto and aircraft parts supplier GKN fell 3.9% in early trading -- though it recovered later --- after announcing a big fall in profits last year and warning that both military demand and demand for agricultural machinery parts would fall this year. And mid-cap defense contractor Cobham fell too after announcing it voluntarily contacted the U.S. Department of Justice to say it had launched an internal investigation into what it called "potentially irregular sales practices concerning sales to Asia" by its Orlando, Fla.-based subsidiary TracStar Systems. TracStar sells its satellite tracking systems to governments and commercial users.

In Frankfurt, the Dax was down 0.45% mid-morning at 9665.70, while in London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.58% at 6826 and in Paris, the CAC40 was down 0.46% at 4399.

In Tokyo the Nikkei 225 closed up 1.44% at 15,051.6, Hong Kong's Hang Sang closed down 0.32% at 22,317 and China's Shanghai Composite closed down 2.04% at 2,034.22.


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