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SocGen Tanks After Missing Earnings Estimates

Societe Generale SA, France’s second-largest bank, posted a fourth-quarter loss after writing down its stake in derivatives broker Newedge Group and setting aside 300 million euros ($403 million) for legal expenses.

The shares fell after the Paris-based lender said today it had a net loss of 476 million euros, compared with a 100 million-euro profit a year earlier. That missed the average estimate for a loss of 203 million euros by 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The bank had goodwill writedowns of 392 million euros in the quarter, mostly on Newedge.

Societe Generale cut jobs and sold assets last year to cope with stricter international capital and liquidity rules after French banks had their access blocked to U.S. dollar funding and European debt markets. The writedowns and litigation costs in the quarter offset a rebound in earnings at the corporate- and investment-banking unit, where the firm trimmed about 1,600 jobs in 2012 after shuffling management at the business.

“Clearly the beginning of the year was good” for capital markets even if for the economic outlook “no one is expecting an upside” this year, Chief Executive Frederic Oudea, 49, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “We know that 2013 will be a year of transition for Europe.”

Societe Generale dropped 3.6 percent to 31.49 euros at 9:16 a.m. in Paris, cutting its gain this year to 11 percent and giving it a market value of 24.7 billion euros. BNP Paribas SA, France’s biggest bank, has added 7.3 percent in the period….”

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