European stocks fall as miners slide, investors assess outlook

BHP Billiton, with Glencore, drags the mining index to one of the worst performances of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600 as commodity prices slip. — Reuters file pic
BHP Billiton, with Glencore, drags the mining index to one of the worst performances of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600 as commodity prices slip. — Reuters file pic

FRANKFURT, Aug 19 — European stocks declined as miners and carmakers tumbled, while investors assessed gains after the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose the most in a week.

BHP Billiton Ltd and Glencore Plc dragged a gauge of miners to one of the worst performances of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600 as commodity prices slipped. BMW AG led automakers lower.

The Stoxx 600 slid 0.6 per cent to 340.92 at 8:19am in London, heading for a 6.8 per cent weekly decline. Shares climbed yesterday for the first time in five days, rebounding from a two-week low, amid better-than-expected US data and confidence that accommodative central-bank policies will help support economic growth. The volume of shares changing hands today was 19 per cent lower than the 30-day average.

Investor confidence has been fragile, with the Stoxx 600 earlier this week capping its longest streak with no gains since June on concern over the pace of Federal Reserve rate increases and a stronger euro. Minutes from the Fed’s last meeting helped quell speculation that borrowing costs could rise as soon as next month, while the European Central Bank’s account of its last policy gathering showed officials were reasonably positive about the economic outlook, even in light of the risks arising from Brexit.

The Stoxx 600, down 0.3 per cent this month amid thin trading, has been hovering around its 200-day moving average in recent days, a level that has proved difficult to hold in the past.

Among stocks moving on corporate news today, A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S rose 0.9 per cent after saying it’s still considering several options in its strategic review after a local newspaper reported that the Danish conglomerate was exploring a two-way split into an energy and a transport company.

Telenor ASA added 1 per cent after Reuters cited the Norwegian telecommunications company’s chief executive as saying it is still planning to sell its VimpleCom Ltd. stake. William Hill Plc jumped 5.2 per cent after the UK’s biggest bookmaker said that operating profit for 2016 would be at the higher end of its forecast. — Bloomberg