European Stocks Are Little Changed as Miners FallJonathan Morgan
European stocks slipped from a seven-week high, with commodity producers falling and Greek shares rising, before the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped less than 0.1 percent to 339.15 at the close of trading, after sliding as much as 0.3 percent and gaining 0.3 percent earlier. Miners fell posted the biggest declines among 19 industry groups, while Greece’s ASE Index rallied 4.2 percent, the most in almost a month, for the biggest increase among 18 western-European markets.
“So far, markets are still pretty relaxed and convinced that the Fed won’t do much damage,” said Ralf Zimmermann, an equity strategist at Bankhaus Lampe KG in Dusseldorf, Germany. “Whether this conviction will hold true all the time in upcoming months remains to be seen. Investors will screen the minutes for any fresh hints about the fights between the doves and the hawks at the Fed and the pace of the future rate path.”
The Fed will release its minutes at 2 p.m. in Washington. The central bank ended its bond-buying program last month amid an improving labor market. The S&P 500 jumped the most since Nov. 5 to a record yesterday.
The Stoxx 600 climbed 1.1 percent in the past two days as German investor confidence rose and Mario Draghi said the European Central Bank’s expanded purchase program could include government bonds. The gauge has rallied 9.4 percent since its low last month as most lenders in Europe passed capital-strength tests, and Japan’s central bank added stimulus.
In the U.K., where the FTSE 100 Index fell 0.2 percent, Bank of England policy makers voted 7-2 to keep interest rates at a record low, according to minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee’s Nov. 5-6 meeting. Some of the majority began to raise concerns about potential inflation pressures.
Commodity producers in the Stoxx 600 lost 1.6 percent as a group for their biggest decline in more than a month. Rio Tinto Group dropped 2.1 percent to 2,942 pence. Anglo American Plc fell 2.9 percent to 1,323 pence.
ICAP Plc lost 10 percent to 386 pence, the biggest drop since February 2010, after the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks said pretax profit fell 10 percent in the first half of its fiscal year. Royal Mail Plc declined 8.4 percent to 430 pence after the British postal service said first-half profit dropped and warned that Amazon.com Inc.’s move to develop its own delivery network will trim the parcel market for other carriers.
Greek and Spanish stocks had some of the biggest advances. Piraeus Bank SA climbed 7.2 percent to 1.19 euros, and Eurobank Ergasias SA gained 6.6 percent to 27.3 euro cents. Abengoa SA rallied for a third day, up 9.5 percent to 2.43 euros.
The volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands was 20 percent lower than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.