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European Stocks Follow Chinese Indices Lower

LONDON (The Deal) -- European stocks declined on Tuesday, following Chinese indices lower, amid Ukraine worries and after Chinese data pointed to an economic deceleration.

M2 money supply in China rose 12.1% year-on-year in March, less than the forecast 13% growth, while the broadest measure of new credit in the economy declined in March. Closer to home, the threat of an extension of Western sanctions on Russian interests because of the country's alleged involvement in unrest in eastern Ukraine fueled nervousness. Russia denies that it's stirring up dissent in the region.

In Germany, the April gauge of investor confidence from the ZEW Centre for European Economic Research fell slightly more than expected. ZEW's index of German economic sentiment fell to 43.2 from 46.6. And in the U.K., the Office for National Statistics put March inflation at a four-year low of 1.6%, in line with expectations, and down from 1.7% the month before.

In London, the FTSE 100 fell 0.27% to 6,565.91. In Frankfurt, the DAX contracted 0.75% to 9,269.57 and in Paris, the CAC 40 ceded 0.29% to 4,371.98.

In London, department stores operator Debenhams rose after investors bought into the company's recovery strategy, announced as it confirmed that first-half profit had tumbled 25%, in line with a December profit warning.

Also in London, brewer SABMiller declined after full-year sales figures that lagged some expectations. The company said it may sell its $1 billion, near-40% stake, in South African hotels and casino operator Tsogo Sun Holdings. Tsogo shares declined marginally in Johannesburg.

In Paris. L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics maker, gained a booster from a 3.5% rise in "like-for-like" first-quarter sales, a measure which strips out exchange-rate movements and other changes. Emerging markets including China performed well, the company added. On a reported basis, group sales fell 2.2% to about $7.7 billion.

And in Zurich, Roche Holding rose as the pharmaceuticals company confirmed its full-year profit outlook and increase its full-year dividend, even though unfavorable exchange rates meant first-quarter sales slipped 1% when converted into Swiss francs.

In Mumbai, United Spirits surged almost 12% after Diageo (DEO) said it would make a new offer to gain as much as 55% of the drinks maker, up from the 28.8% it owns now. Last year it failed to secure a majority shareholding through a mandatory offer following a stake purchase from tycoon Vijay Mallya. Diageo in June will offer 3,030 rupees per share, or about $1.9 billion in total to lift its stake. United Spirits was trading by late morning at Rs2,857. In London on Tuesday morning, Diageo was down marginally.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose 0.62% to 13,996.81 and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng fell 1.6% to 22,671.26, with the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 falling 1.73% to 2,229.46.

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