Europe Stocks Hold Steady as Banks Reverse Gains, Defensives Up

Little Change as European Stocks Hold Steady

European stocks ended little changed, as the recent rotation into cyclical companies reversed ahead of the holidays.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained less than 0.1 percent, closing little changed on the week, with a gauge of banks reversing earlier gains to retreat for a third day. Defensive sectors including utilities and real estate firms climbed. The number of the benchmark’s shares changing hands was 57 percent lower than the 30-day average, keeping with thin volume in the last full week of trading for the year.

  • The Stoxx 600 was within 1.6 percent of wiping out its losses for the year, having rallied 5.3 percent this month.
  • Strategists expect the Stoxx 600 to end 2017 at 366, 1.7 percent higher than Friday’s close, according to the average of nine estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Some financial companies bucked the trend: Italian lenders gained, with Intesa Sanpaolo SpA climbing to an eight-month high, as the country’s government readied rescue funds. NN Group NV advanced 3.7 percent, the third-biggest gain on the Stoxx 600, after agreeing to buy Delta Lloyd NV.
  • European markets will be closed on Monday for the Christmas holiday, and the U.K. will be shut on Tuesday as well.

— With assistance by Elena Popina

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