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Europe stocks end lower as global stocks rise

written by Bella Palmer

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index provisionally closed down nearly 0.1%, with health care stocks gaining 0.6% while banks shedding 0.5%

European stocks ended lower on Thursday as global markets searched for new record highs to close out the year.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index provisionally ended down nearly 0.1%, with health care stocks gaining 0.6% while banks shedding 0.5%.

The continental blue-chip index was last trading near the 478.21 level, not far below the index’s record closing high of 483.44 reached in November 2021.

In the U.S., stocks were marginally up after another day of modest gains on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 benchmark also nearing a record high.

Investors widely expect that the US Fed is done hiking interest rates and will most likely shift to rate cuts in 2024.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.21 per cent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were flat.

Shares in Asia-Pacific ended mostly higher overnight, with markets in mainland China and Hong Kong leading gains and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 staying near a two-year high. Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix bucked the trend to post slight declines.

Trading volumes are expected to be thin during the last two days of the trading year, with fewer data points on the economic calendar and all major central bank meetings out of the way.

In terms of individual share price movement in Europe, Spanish utility firm Endesa dropped 3.7% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600, while Finnish crane manufacturer Konecranes gained 2.7% to lead the index.

Oil prices dropped more than 1% on Thursday as concerns eased about shipping disruptions along the Red Sea route.

Front-month February Brent crude futures were down $1.02, around 1.3%, at $78.63 a barrel by 1443 GMT, while the more active March contract was down 92 cents, nearly 1.2%, at $78.62 a barrel.


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