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Europe: Shares retreat from three-month high as China wobbles


[LONDON] A leading European share index retreated from a three-month high on Friday, hit by a drop in shares of mining companies after a slump in Chinese equities. Anticipation of further stimulus by the European Central Bank next week helped to cushion the fall.

The FTSEurofirst 300 ended down 0.26 per cent at 1,512.32, after posting its highest close since August on Thursday.

Mining stocks fell the most, declining 2.7 per cent. China, the world's biggest consumer of metals, saw stocks slide over 5 per cent after a regulatory crackdown and deteriorating industrial profits data.

Anglo American led the decline, falling 8.2 per cent after shutting down an Australian coal mine.

Some investors worried markets would see a repeat of events this past August, when China let its currency fall and jolted equities globally. Others said that might be less likely if the yuan joined the IMF's reserve basket next week. "Miners are suffering from China and a stronger US dollar outlook. There is clearly a risk that China will try and devalue the currency further, but there is less risk of that compared to earlier in the year," said Ankit Gheedia, equity and derivative strategist at BNP Paribas. "(However) Europe is still trading on the ECB next week, which is why the market is relatively resilient." Bets the ECB will extend or increase its quantitative easing programme next week helped to spur the FTSEurofirst 300 to Thursday's three-month highs.

Belgian bank KBC rose 2.6 per cent after disclosing new capital requirements from the ECB.

Altice extended gains over the last two sessions to more than 10 per cent. A Reuters report that it had won rights to show English Premier League soccer in France was confirmed shortly after the market closed on Thursday.