European Stocks Halt Four-Day Advance as Lenders Reverse Gains

Stoxx 600 Ends Winning Streak With Slight Decline

European stocks were little changed, erasing earlier gains, as banks reversed an advance.

After spending most of the session in positive territory, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.1 percent at the close, wiping out a rise of as much as 0.6 percent as lenders and carmakers dragged on the gauge. The benchmark ran out of steam after a four-day rally took it within 10 points of erasing its post-Brexit losses.

Investors also turned their focus to earnings reports, with Burberry Group Plc up 6.3 percent after posting first-quarter retail sales that beat analysts’ estimates.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about what’s going to happen with Brexit and how fast the talks will unfold. But at the moment, it really seems we are not as worried as we were last week,” said Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, Switzerland. “Earnings will be very important, to show that the economy is still alive and to convince investors there are still some opportunities in European companies out there.”

Equities slid last week on concern over the strength of the Italian banking system and the impact of the U.K. referendum. Speculation of looser monetary policy to contain the fallout of Brexit have boosted shares since then, while uncertainty about Britain’s leadership has also eased, with Theresa May taking over as prime minister today.

Some shares moved on deal activity today. Accor SA added 3.4 percent after announcing plans to separate its HotelInvest unit and eventually sell a majority stake in the subsidiary to free up funds for the parent company to expand and improve existing lodgings. Playtech Plc rose 3.6 percent after saying it bought Vienna-based Best Gaming Technology GmbH for 138 million euros ($153 million).

A gauge of Italian lenders slid 2.2 percent, after a four-day rally boosted it by 20 percent. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA bucked the trend, gaining 5.4 percent. JPMorgan Chase & Co. may work on the structure of a deal to sell the lender’s non-performing loans, Milano Finanza reported.

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