Economic news

European Shares Subdued as Energy Offsets Declines in Miners

  • Barclays shares slip after major backer Qatar cuts stake
  • Fall in EZ Nov business activity adds to recession fears
  • Bond yields drop after ECB's Schnabel scraps more hikes
  • Ericsson jumps after AT&T network deal, Nokia sinks

Dec 5 (Reuters) - European stocks were muted on Tuesday as gains in energy shares offset a drop in miners and healthcare, while investors focused on a slew of economic data during the day for insights into the global monetary policy outlook.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was little changed by 0913 GMT, stalling around a four-month high, after snapping a three-day winning streak on Monday.

All eyes are now on November U.S. business activity data and October producer prices in the eurozone later in the day as investors remain largely determined that major central banks will start cutting interest rates quicker than previously expected as inflation falls and economic outlook worsens.

Fresh data showed the downturn in euro zone business activity eased last month but still indicates the bloc's economy will contract again this quarter as the dominant services industry continues to struggle to generate demand.

Further, ECB's October consumer expectations survey showed inflation expectations among eurozone consumers held steady last month while the outlook for economic growth worsened.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank conservative Isabel Schnabel noted further interest hikes are "rather unlikely", after an unexpectedly big fall in inflation, steering bond yields sharply lower.

Miners were the top sectoral decliners, losing 0.8% tracking lower base metal prices, while energy stocks gained 0.5% on higher crude oil prices.

Barclays shares opened 4.5% lower, eventually paring some of the losses, after one of its largest shareholders Qatar Holding moved to sell around 510 million pound ($644 million) of its stock.

China-exposed HSBC and Prudential fell 0.9% and 1.9%, respectively, following ratings agency Moody's outlook cut on China's credit ratings.

"With Moody's switching China to a negative outlook, the expectation is that the slowing economic growth is going to have a knock-on effect for big international companies," said Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell.

The healthcare sector was also down 0.3%, with Carl Zeiss Meditec dropping 4.8% after J.P.Morgan started the German medical technology firm with an "underweight" rating.

Ericsson jumped 8.1% after AT&T chose the Swedish telecoms equipment maker over Finnish rival Nokia to build a telecom network, sending the latter's shares down 9.1% to the bottom of the STOXX 600.

British eateries operator SSP Group gained 4.5% following its annual dividend plans and an upbeat outlook.

Italy's blue-chip index breached the 30,0000-point mark for the first time since 2008. Pirelli gained 3.4% to top the index after UBS upgraded the Italian tyre maker to "buy" from "neutral".

Reporting by Khushi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Source: Reuters

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