BNP Paribas SA led banks lower as Moodyâ€™s Investors Service downgraded Portugalâ€™s debt rating. Sonova Holding AG (SOON) plunged the most in four years after the Swiss hearing-aid maker cut its forecasts. Zodiac Aerospace gained 1.3 percent as first-half revenue increased.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.5 percent to 264.97 at 10:47 a.m. in London, having earlier risen as much as 0.8 percent. The gauge has retreated 9.1 percent from this yearâ€™s high as last weekâ€™s Japanese earthquake and ensuing nuclear disaster added to concern that revolts in the Middle East and North Africa will further disrupt oil supplies. The drop has pushed the measureâ€™s valuation to the lowest level since April 2009 relative to estimated company earnings.
â€œItâ€™s too early to call the bottom,â€ said Markus Steinbeis, head of equity portfolio management at the Unterfoehring, Germany-based unit of Pioneer Investments KGmbH, which oversees about $221 billion globally. The marketâ€™s direction â€œis heavily dependent on whatâ€™s happening in Japan.â€
Not a good trend! Edit: JayRodney 03-16-11 2:31 pm gmt+2