Uneasy Calm Reigns in European Equities After Week of Swings

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Calm returned to European equity markets after days of wild swings this week.

The region’s shares were little changed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.1 percent to 386.24 at the close of trading. After three days of moves of more than 1 percent, the gauge had a relatively quiet day. It swung between gains of 0.6 percent and losses of 0.5 percent amid volume that was about a fourth lower than the 30-day average.

“Nobody wants to hold big positions into the weekend and after this really nervous week,” said Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, Switzerland. “It’s just a tug of war between investors who believe there’s some more downside ahead and those who think we’ve corrected enough. There’s more of a risk-off sentiment than risk on.”

The Stoxx 600 has dropped 2.7 percent this week, posting its first decline in three weeks. It slumped the most since October on Wednesday, extending losses after China devalued its currency, before rebounding 1 percent yesterday.

“Everybody’s happy that this week is coming to an end,” Galliker said. “It’s been quite a turbulent week with the talk on the yuan and the decline in the oil price at a six-year low. Now we need to find a new balance.”

A report showed the euro-area economy grew less than forecast in the second quarter. Separately, Greek lawmakers approved a third bailout package in Athens. The benchmark ASE Index slid 1.9 percent for a third day of losses.

Real estate shares in the Stoxx 600 rose the most among 19 industry groups, while Seadrill Ltd. and Subsea 7 SA paced losses among energy shares.

Swiss Life Holding AG climbed 1.6 percent after posting first-half net income that beat estimates. Ingenico Group jumped 5.6 percent and St. James’s Place Plc rose 1.9 percent after they were added to the MSCI World Index.

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