European Stocks 3rd Day Down On Spanish Bonds’ Fall

European stocks retreated, extending the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s biggest slide in four weeks, as Spanish bonds fell, renewing concern that the euro area has yet to contain its debt crisis. U.S. index futures fell, while Asian shares were little changed.

The Stoxx 600 (SXXP) slid 0.3 percent to 257.95. . The index has dropped 2.1 percent this week, heading for its third week of losses. Markets are closed tomorrow for Easter. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures expiring in June slipped 0.2 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 0.1 percent.

“We saw a massive decline yesterday,” said Michael Hewson, a markets analyst at CMC Markets in London in a Bloomberg Television interview. “We look as if we’re going to close the week, for the third successive week, lower.”

European stocks tumbled 2.1 percent yesterday, their biggest slide since March 6, after Spain sold fewer bonds than its maximum target at an auction and the Federal Reserve damped expectations for further monetary stimulus for the U.S.

In the U.S., a Labor Department report at 8:30 a.m. inWashington may show that initial jobless claims fell to 355,000 in the week to March 31, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

France sold 10-year bonds at an average rate of 2.98 percent today, compared with 2.91 percent at a sale of comparable securities on March 1.

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and his committee may vote today to complete their current round of stimulus, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The central bank will announce its decision.