ECONOMY

Europe stocks fall for third day amid drops in Greece, Portugal

European stocks fell, extending their biggest two-day decline in a month as national benchmark gauges slipped in Greece, Portugal and Spain.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.2 percent to 345.39 at 2:48 p.m. in London. Greece’s ASE Index fell 2.1 percent, while Portugal’s PSI 20 Index and Spain’s IBEX 35 Index declined 1 percent for the biggest slumps among 18 western-European markets.

The Stoxx 600 fell 0.4 percent on Monday as a YouGov Plc survey indicated for the first time that a majority of voters in Scotland favored breaking away from the U.K. The drop came after a four-week rally as the European Central Bank unexpectedly cut all three of its main interest rates and said it will start buying assets.

The Stoxx 600 is pausing a rally that sent it 0.2 percent below a six-year high last week. The gauge climbed 5.4 percent this year through Monday, jumping 1.1 percent on Sept. 4 after the ECB’s surprise announcement.

The volume of shares of Stoxx 600 companies traded Tuesday was 9 percent greater than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index dropped 0.2 percent Tuesday after sliding as much as 0.3 percent. Another poll showed Tuesday that 38 percent of respondents said they would vote Yes to independence in the Sept. 18 referendum, up from 32 percent, while 39 percent favored the status quo.

The U.K. stocks gauge earlier pared losses after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney indicated officials may increase their benchmark rate from a record in the spring of next year amid wage gains and an economic recovery. [Bloomberg]