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Europe: Stocks pare drops; futures little changed in late trading


[LONDON] Europe's index futures were little changed after politicians suspended campaigning on whether Britain should leave the European Union.

Contracts on the Euro Stoxx 50 Index expiring this month added 0.2 per cent at 5:52 pm in London.

The move came after European stocks pared losses in the last hour of trading. UK Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox died after being shot as she met constituents in her electoral district in West Yorkshire in the north of England.

"There are a few unconfirmed rumors going round that the tragic Jo Cox news could actually delay next week's vote, though that's pure speculation," said Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG Group Holdings Plc.

"It could also be that after a few days of heavy selling there was bound to be some mean reversion and some people coming back in to buy the dip. These are volatile days, no doubt."

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell as much as 1.6 per cent before closing down 0.7 per cent, a sixth decline in seven days. Adding to worries over a potential Brexit, oil deepened its slide, while concerns over monetary policy and the economic expansion grew with central banks in Japan and the US keeping their policies unchanged.

The volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands was about 32 per cent greater than the 30-day average amid a broad selloff that took 515 of the index's companies down. Deutsche Bank AG sank to a record low, while Credit Suisse Group AG did so intraday.

Gauges of Greek and Italian stocks were among the biggest decliners in western Europe, down at least 1 per cent. None of the region's main benchmark indexes gained. Germany's DAX Index lost 0.6 per cent, and Britain's FTSE 100 Index fell 0.3 per cent.

While banks from Europe's periphery posted the biggest declines, the whole industry suffered after the Fed held pat on interest rates. Deutsche Bank lost 2.2 per cent, and Credit Suisse dropped 1.4 per cent. The SNB said on Thursday Switzerland's biggest lenders need to take further measures to meet new capital requirements.

Among other stocks moving, Volkswagen AG declined 2.2 per cent as its European market share contracted the most since December and is at a five-year low. Kuka AG added 1.8 per cent after Midea Group Co, China's biggest appliance manufacturer, began a tender offer to raise its stake in the German industrial-robot maker that values it at 4.6 billion euros (S$7 billion).

Randgold Resources Ltd advanced 4.8 per cent, for one of the biggest gains among Stoxx 600 companies, as the precious metal it mines climbed for a seventh day.