Stocks declined yesterday as Lloyds Banking Group dragged banks lower and a report showed US manufacturing expanded at the slowest pace in eight months. The Stoxx Europe 600 index had dropped 1.3 percent to 318.21 by the close of trading. The index slid 1.8 percent in January and has slumped 5.3 percent from a six-year high hit on January 22 . Lloyds retreated 4 percent. It set aside £1.8 billion (R32.8bn) in the fourth quarter to cover the cost of compensating customers for mis-sold payment protection insurance. Ryanair Holdings jumped 6.3 percent after saying more people had booked flights for the upcoming summer than at this stage a year ago. Randgold Resources rose 6.3 percent on a 15 percent increase in gold production and a 3 percent fall in costs. "A correction was certainly overdue by all market standards, but there's no reason to be overly concerned quite yet," said Teis Knuthsen at Saxo Bank's private banking unit in Hellerup, Denmark . - Bloomberg Pretoria News
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