European Stocks Are Little Changed After Three Weeks of Gains

(Bloomberg) -- European stocks closed little changed as a rally in commodity and energy producers offset losses in drugmakers and media companies.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.1 percent at the close, hovering near a 21-month high. Miners climbed 1.7 percent as a group, tracking metal prices higher. Crude rallied after Saudi Arabia and Russia said they favor prolonging oil-output cuts, sending a gauge of energy shares up 0.9 percent. The measure is still down for the year, the only one among Stoxx 600 industries.

  • Brent futures rose after Saudi Arabia and Russia said they favor extending output cuts by global producers through the end of the first quarter of 2018. That sets a firmer time frame for a probable extension of the curbs into next year.
  • Integrated oil companies represent the only “absolute value” trade in European equities, Bernstein strategists wrote in a note. The sector trades close to 30-year lows on a price-to-book basis and offers the highest level of relative dividend yield “we have seen in nearly three decades” they said.
  • The Stoxx 600 on Friday capped a third week of gains, its longest winning streak since January.
  • European shares are likely to fall from present levels by the end of the year, according to equity strategists, with optimism over better profits seen largely priced in. The Euro Stoxx 50 Index is set to end 2017 about 4 percent lower than the index’s current level, the average of 15 projections compiled by Bloomberg show.

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