European shares drift into year-end as resources stocks glitter

European shares drift into year-end as resources stocks glitter
The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Staff/Remote
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LONDON (Reuters) – European shares drifted lower in early deals on Thursday with company news and macro events scarce in holiday-thinned trading, while Britain’s FTSE 100 hovered just under a record high.

The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> index was down 0.1 percent, while blue chips <.STOXX50E> slipped 0.2 percent.

A rally in commodity prices continued to support the resources-heavy FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index, which gained 0.1 percent. Europe’s basic resources index <.SXPP> was the best-performing sector, up 0.5 percent.

Tech stocks <.SX8P> extended the previous session’s losses, when chipmakers were hit by concerns over demand for Apple’s iPhone X.

The tech sector was down 0.3 percent on the day, but has gained more than 20 percent so far this year, the standout performer in Europe.

More broadly, volumes have been muted and liquidity in short supply over the festive season in Europe, with little by way of company news to spur significant moves among single stocks.

Shares in BT were among the biggest fallers, down 1.7 percent after the telecoms stock traded ex-dividend, while volatile Steinhoff <SNHG.DE> was the top gainer, up 4 percent.

Nearing the year-end, European stocks have enjoyed a positive year, with the STOXX 600 up around 8 percent in 2017 as buoyant company earnings and a brighter economic backdrop have fuelled the region’s equities.

Germany’s DAX<.GDAXI> and Italy’s benchmark <.FTMIB> are among this year’s winners, up 13.8 percent and 15.4 percent respectively, while Britain’s FTSE has managed to gain 6.7 percent.

Graphic – Major European Indexes YTD Price Performance:

(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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