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Europe: Shares end winning streak as Evonik and health stocks fall

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[MILAN] European shares fell back on Thursday, with chemicals maker Evonik and major healthcare stocks among the worst performers, halting a run of five straight days of gains.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which reached a one-month high earlier this week, slid 0.5 per cent. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also weakened by 0.3 per cent.

Evonik slid 6.3 per cent after flagging a decline in 2016 adjusted core earnings.

Major healthcare stocks such as Roche and GlaxoSmithKline also fell after credit rating agency Moody's cut its outlook on the global pharmaceuticals industry to "stable" from "positive".

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After a turbulent start to the year due to worries about global growth and the health of the banking sector, European stock markets enjoyed a recent rally as oil prices recovered and fears over a US economic slowdown abated.

However, the FTSEurofirst remains down 7 per cent so far in 2016, and some analysts said more signs that the global economy was on a firmer footing were needed to push markets higher. "For markets to continue to move higher, more good data, especially out of the US, will be needed," said Markus Huber, a trader at City of London Markets.

JC Decaux climbed 3.8 per cent after the French advertising company forecast organic revenue growth of around 9 per cent in the first quarter of this year and proposed a 12 per cent hike in its 2015 dividend.

Telecom Italia also surged 6 per cent after a Bloomberg News report that the position of its chief executive was being reviewed by the Italian phone company's biggest investor Vivendi. Telecom Italia declined to comment.

REUTERS

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