Europe Stocks Drop in Thin Trading as Miners, Akzo Nobel Decline

European Stocks Close Lower

Declines in miners dragged European stocks down from a three-week high, while the earnings season picked up pace.

Rio Tinto Group dropped 3.5 percent after a weaker-than-expected increase in its quarterly iron ore production. Chemical producer Akzo Nobel NV, among 18 Stoxx Europe 600 Index companies reporting results today, slid 4.3 percent after its sales missed analyst forecasts.

A rebound in the Stoxx 600 is losing steam, with the measure down 0.4 percent at the close. It fell as much as 1 percent earlier. The volume of shares changing hands was 33 percent lower than the 30-day average, with investors focused on Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting. While economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast that officials will probably keep rates unchanged, traders will pay heed to comments by President Mario Draghi for signs on looser policy following the Brexit decision.

“The ECB event is going to be the major point of interest for markets this week,” said Daniel Murray, head of research at EFG Asset Management in London. “I suspect they will leave things unchanged, but investors will monitor closely what Draghi says afterwards. We are quite early in the earnings season. It’s been fairly mundane, and that’s probably why the market is fairly muted in response to that.”

The Stoxx 600 has alternated between gains and losses for the past four sessions, signaling a lack of impetus. Speculation that central banks will limit the fallout of the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union had boosted shares in two of the past three weeks. Still, the region’s stocks have struggled to erase their losses following the Brexit decision, even as global equities recovered declines last week.

Among other shares active, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV fell 3.4 percent after saying it is under investigation by U.S. authorities over how it reports sales. Ericsson AB lost 5.6 percent after its quarterly revenue trailed estimates.

Some stocks bucked the overall market trend: Zalando SE surged 22 percent after the German online apparel retailer reported quarterly profit that beat analysts’ estimates and raised its full-year margin forecast. Telenor ASA gained 4.4 percent after saying that it won’t bid in a upcoming spectrum auction in India, signaling a rethink on an investment strategy that has prompted investor concerns.

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