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European stocks fall as miners slide, investors assess outlook

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European Stocks declined as miners and carmakers tumbled, while investors assessed gains after the Stoxx Europe 600 Index reached the maximum in a week.

BHP Billiton Ltd and Glencore Plc dragged a gauge of miners to one of the worst performances of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600 as commodity prices slipped. BMW AG led automakers lower.

The Stoxx 600 slid 0.6 per cent to 340.92 at 8:19 a.m. in London, moving towards a 6.8 per cent weekly decline. Shares climbed Thursday for the first time in five days, rebounding from a two-week low, amid better-then-expected U.S. data and confidence that accommodative central-bank policies will help support economic growth. The volume of shares changing hands today was 19 per cent lower than the 30-day average.

Investor confidence has been fragile, with the Stoxx 600 earlier this week capping its longest streak with no gains since June on concern over the pace of Federal Reserve rate increases and a stronger euro. Minutes from the Fed’s last meeting helped quell speculation that borrowing costs could rise as soon as next month, while the European Central Bank’s account of its last policy gathering showed officials were reasonably positive about the economic outlook, even in light of the risks arising from Brexit.

The Stoxx 600, down 0.3 per cent this month amid thin trading, has been hovering around its 200-day moving average in recent days, a level that has proved difficult to hold in the past.

Paul

The author Paul