European stocks fall for fourth time in five days
On Wednesday European stocks fell for the fourth time in five days as investors speculated on a Federal Reserve rate increase this year.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.5 percent at the close, with miners and energy shares leading declines. The benchmark extended losses after U.S. markets opened, as Alcoa Inc. kicked off the earnings season there by posting worse-than-forecast quarterly profit. More than 150 Stoxx 600 companies are due to report results this month.
European stocks have had a shaky start in October, a month in which they have posted gains in five of the past six years. A rebound on Monday spurred by energy producers was short-lived as concerns resurfaced about whether the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand higher borrowing costs. The Stoxx 600 fell for four of the past five weeks as traders boosted bets for a rate increase amid improving data.
European stock investors are also facing political risks from Italy’s referendum and the fallout of U.K.’s secession vote as they head into the final months of the year. The region’s equity funds have seen outflows for a record 35 weeks, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report showed last week, and the Stoxx 600 is poised to post its first annual drop since 2011.
The FTSE 100 Index, which rose as much as 0.5 percent to an intraday record, closed 0.4 percent lower. While the U.K. benchmark has posted the biggest rally among developed markets this year, strategists say it will lose momentum before the year is up.
Asian stocks headed for a fourth day of declines after U.S. markets slumped on disappointing earnings, volatility spiked, and a stronger yen weighed on Japanese shares. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.4 percent to 139.25 as of 9:08 a.m. in Tokyo, while Japan’s Topix index sank 0.7 percent.