Europe Stocks Advance Amid Thin Trading Before OPEC, Italy Vote

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  • Actelion jumps after J&J said to raise takeover offer
  • Travel shares rise, energy producers drop on OPEC discord

European Stocks Edge Higher on Italian Banks

A rebound in bank shares helped European stocks recover from their biggest drop in more than three weeks, while trading remained thin before the upcoming OPEC meeting and the Italian referendum.

A gauge of banks rose for the first time in five days, with Italy’s UBI Banca SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA among the biggest gainers. Actelion Ltd. jumped 10 percent, reversing earlier losses, after people familiar with the matter said Johnson & Johnson raised its takeover offer for the Swiss drugmaker. Discord among OPEC members before tomorrow’s meeting sent crude prices and energy shares lower, while boosting airlines on bets of cheaper fuel. IAG SA and Air France-KLM rose at least 1.3 percent

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 percent at the close, after swinging between gains and losses at least nine times. The volume of shares changing hands was 16 percent lower than the 30-day average, in keeping with the thin trading seen in recent sessions.

“European stocks should remain volatile and with lower volume throughout the week,” said Herbert Perus, head of equities at Raiffeisen Capital Management in Vienna. His firm manages 30 billion euros ($32 billion). “Many investors are on the sidelines waiting for the Italian referendum. We have a very important OPEC meeting ahead, therefore the oil price is shaky and so are oil-related companies.”

Italy’s FTSE MIB Index climbed the most among western-European benchmarks, rebounding from a two-month low. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s office denied news reports that he may step down even if he wins a Dec. 4 vote on constitutional reform, an event that has sparked concerns about political and economic instability there. Italian shares have declined 3.3 percent this month, even as the Stoxx 600 has risen.

The Stoxx 600 has climbed 0.6 percent in November, on track for its first monthly advance in three. European equities have climbed on speculation Donald Trump’s U.S. election win will lead to increased fiscal spending. Industries seen benefiting from stronger economic growth -- including miners, banks and insurers -- led gains, while defensive shares such as utilities and telecommunications shares lagged.

The rally in commodity producers lost steam after surging 12 percent since the U.S. election through Thursday. Miners posted the worst performance among Stoxx 600 groups today, falling for the second time in three days. Antofagasta Plc and Fresnillo Plc dropped more than 3.4 percent.

Among other stocks active on corporate news, TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc climbed 3.1 percent after U.K.’s telecommunications regulator moved ahead with plans to legally separate BT Group Plc’s Openreach division, a decision aimed at improving access to the network for rivals.

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