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European Stocks Slide on New Sanctions Against Russia

LONDON ( The Deal) -- European stock indices slid on Thursday, while major Asian indices closed little changed, after the U.S. and the European Union expanded sanctions against Russian interests to punish the country for its alleged support of separatists in Ukraine.

Oil producer OAO Rosneft and lender OAO Gazprombank were among the companies targeted in the latest round of sanctions, and were down 5.6% and 3.4%, respectively, in London, as the ruble declined. The EU also said its investment banks would halt lending to Russian public sector projects.

European Commission figures, meanwhile, confirmed an earlier estimate that eurozone June inflation had held steady at 0.5%, confirming a picture of subdued price pressure.

In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.37% at 6,759.48. In Frankfurt, the DAX declined 0.31% to 9,828.37. The CAC in Paris fell 0.45% at 4,349.40.

Pockets of takeover excitement boosted some European shares.

In London, shares in commercial terrestrial TV broadcaster ITV rose sharply after John Malone's Liberty Global  (LBTYA - Get Report) invested 481 million pounds ($824.2 million) in a 6.4% stake. It described the purchase from British Sky Broadcasting "opportunistic" and said it has no plans to make a takeover, thus tying its hands under most circumstances under the U.K. Takeover Code. However, many investors believe its long-term interest may be in an acquisition.

In Milan, Fiat was up 4% after Germany's Manager Magazin reported that the Italian company had held talks about a takeover by Volkswagen, whose shares declined about 1.6%.

In Paris, Carrefour gained ground after posting above-forecast second-quarter revenue.

Frankfurt business software maker SAP (SAP - Get Report) rose more than 3% after it raised its full-year revenue forecast for its cloud-based software. The news, in a second-quarter results statement, came two days after German rival Software AG warned on fiscal 2014 profit margins.

Zurich drugmaker Novartis (NVS - Get Report) drifted down more than 1% after a disappointing second-quarter bulletin.

Telecom Italia tumbled 3% on news that Telefonica will cut its stake by more than a third to as little as 8.3% following a 750 million euros ($1 billion) sale of convertible bonds . The Spanish telecom has decided to forgo its influence in Italy to appease Brazilian regulators concerned about its dominant position in that market, given that both European operators have wireless services providers there.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed little changed, down 0.01%, at 23,520.81. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 drifted down 0.06% at 15,370.26.

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