ROME: After the loss and gain situation, European stocks were a little bit changed, as US data showed the world’s biggest economy strong. Greek shares have slid a third day, ASE Index fell 20 percent thios week.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost less than 0.1 percent to 339.31 at the close of trading, having fallen as much as 0.8 percent and gained as much as 0.3 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounded from a three-day drop after data showed U.S. retail sales rose at a faster pace than estimated, while initial jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week.
“Although investors are having all kinds of uncertainty thrown at them, the case for investing has not changed,” Francois Savary, chief investment officer of Reyl & Cie., said by phone from Geneva. “The U.S. is giving us strong signs of growth and Europe is back on the path of recovery. There is more pessimism coming into the end of this year, but the buyers are still there.”
Greece’s ASE Index slid 7.4 percent today, posting the biggest three-day slump since 1987, amid concern a possible snap parliamentary election would open the door to anti-austerity leadership.
European shares are on course for their biggest weekly drop in two months. The Stoxx 600 reached an almost seven-year high on Dec. 5, with Germany’s DAX Index rising to a record. Shares have rallied from this year’s low in October amid speculation the European Central Bank will consider quantitative easing at its January meeting.
Euro-area lenders took up 130 billion euros ($161 billion) in the ECB’s targeted longer-term loans, lower than the median analyst estimate of 148 billion euros. The TLTROs are meant to spur lending to the real economy.
“The issue of liquidity in Europe is key,” Savary said. “For European equities to outperform the U.S., which we think they will, you need to have liquidity in the system. Will there be QE? If the TLTROs are not working, the ECB needs to add to existing instruments and find other ways of increasing their balance sheet.”
Commodity producers retreated for a sixth day, the longest streak since September. Iron ore may drop to less than $60 a metric ton next year, according to Roubini Global Economics LLC. Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest miners, lost more than 1.5 percent. Anglo American Plc dropped 2.9 percent to a five-year low.
Among shares moving on corporate news, Inditex SA rose 4.2 percent after the world’s largest clothing retailer reported an increase in nine-month profit and revenue.