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European and Asian Stocks Decline Amid Iraq, Ukraine Tensions


European and Asian stocks declined, as rising tensions in the Middle East as well as Ukraine rattled investors and global indices. Escalating violence in Iraq – where insurgents are reportedly tightening their grip in northern and western regions -- weighed on energy-related stocks in London. Among the biggest decliners were Petrofac Ltd., a provider of oilfield services to the oil and gas industries, and Scottish engineering company Weir Group plc. In Paris, natural-gas distributor GDF Suez SA fell after the government sold a 3.1% stake in the company to help it fund the purchase of 20% of Alstom SA, clearing the way for General Electric Co.’s purchase of Alstom’s energy assets. In Madrid, shares in Spain’s biggest builder, Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, retreated as its holding company, Corporacion Financiero Alba, whittled down its stake by a further 3.7%.