European Stocks Fall in Low Trading Volume During Holiday Week

  • Stoxx 600 is heading for its worst December since 2002
  • U.K. equities will resume trading tomorrow after Boxing Day

European stocks dropped for a second day, as low trading persisted in the holiday-shortened week.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.5 percent at the close of trading in London, with energy companies leading losses as oil resumed its retreat, while miners fell after data showed Chinese industrial company profits dropped. With the U.K. market closed for the Boxing Day holiday, the volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands was more than two-thirds below the 30-day average.

“Oil and gas companies are under pressure because of the Chinese statistic over the weekend,” said John Plassard, a senior equity-sales trader at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva. “Essential drivers for the European market next year will be expansive monetary policy, the weakness of the euro, a sustainable valuation of European companies, a strong domestic demand and nice profit growth.”

European equities advanced for two weeks amid a rebound in energy and commodity producers. Still, the Stoxx 600 is down 5.4 percent for the month, heading for its worst December since 2002. An addition in European Central Bank stimulus that fell short of expectations contributed to the negative sentiment among stock investors, just as oil and commodities deepened their rout.

The Stoxx 600 has lost a big part of its annual advance as concerns over global growth took over just as the Federal Reserve increased its interest rates for the first time in almost a decade. After surging as much as 21 percent to a record in April, the Stoxx 600 has slid 12 percent, trimming its annual advance to 6.4 percent. Markets were closed on Friday for the Christmas holiday.

Most national gauges fell on Monday, with Germany’s DAX Index losing 0.7 percent, France’s CAC 40 Index sliding 1 percent and Spain’s IBEX 35 Index down 1.4 percent. The Swiss Market Index climbed 0.4 percent.

ArcelorMittal and Seadrill Ltd. led declines among energy and commodity producers, falling more than 5 percent. PostNL NV lost 3.2 percent after jumping 13 percent on Thursday on takeover speculation.

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