European Equity Gains Lose Momentum With 2016 Drawing to a Close

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European stocks faltered as investors proved unwilling to sustain a rally that’s lifted equities close to a one-year high.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.4 percent, with trading volume less than half the 30-day average. Shares that fell the most were cyclicals, including banks, carmakers and miners, although they remain among the best performers in the final quarter of the year amid bets for stronger economic growth. Stocks in Italy and Spain dropped for a second day, while German shares fell for the first time in three days. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index bucked the trend, gaining 0.2 percent to break past a record high set yesterday.

  • “Equities are on the back foot today,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets in London, wrote in a note. Investors are “taking profits and some risk off the table.”
  • The VStoxx Index of euro-area equity volatility rose 4.1 percent on Thursday, extending its longest climbing streak since November.
  • The FTSE 100 is heading for one of the biggest annual gains among Western European markets in 2016, up 14 percent. Germany’s DAX Index has risen 6.6 percent and France’s CAC 40 Index is up 4.3 percent.
  • The Stoxx 600 is still down 1.5 percent for the year. Strategists expect the gauge to end 2017 at 366, 1.6 percent higher than Thursday’s close, according to the average of nine estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

— With assistance by Elena Popina

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