European stocks down after their first monthly gain in three
On Thursday, European stocks fell, following their first monthly gain in three, ahead of Sunday’s Italian referendum.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.5% at 11.10am in London. While the benchmark rose with energy shares on the OPEC agreement reached on Wednesday, it’s still on track for a weekly decline. Italy’s vote on constitutional reform is among a number of political and economic events traders are preparing for in December. Also due are data on American payrolls tomorrow and central-bank meetings in Europe and the US later this month.
Traders assessing what a ‘no’ vote on Sunday means for Italy’s political stability and its banking crisis aren’t taking any chances. Following surprise victories for the Brexit campaign and for Donald Trump in the US election, they are paying the most in more than two years to hedge against swings in the FTSE MIB Index relative to the Euro Stoxx 50 Index. The Italian benchmark was little changed following a monthly decline.
Exporters were among the biggest contributors to declines in the Stoxx 600 on Thursday, while miners and oil-related shares advanced. A gauge tracking energy stocks headed for its biggest twoday rally since September.
The Stoxx 600 climbed 0.9% in November on speculation Trump will increase fiscal spending, spurring economic growth. The respite hasn’t been enough to stave off the first annual decline for the benchmark since the peak of the sovereign-debt crisis in 2011. It’s down 7% this year.
Asian stocks rose as an OPEC deal to cut oil production sparked a rally in equities from China to Japan. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.6% to 136.54 as of 5.10pm in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased 1.1%, extending gains to the highest level since the 30 December.