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Europe: Shares dip, banks and Boeing suppliers in focus

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[BENGALURU] Most European stocks slid on Monday amid losses across most sectors, with German bank and real estate shares drawing investor attention as did European suppliers of US planemaker Boeing following a production cut announced late on Friday.

The pan-region Stoxx 600 index fell 0.2 per cent, further distancing itself from a near eight-month peak hit last week.

"In light of the strong rally and the multi-month highs that were achieved in European indices recently, some investors are now taking a breather," David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, wrote in a note.

Bank stocks dropped 0.4 per cent, with German lender Commerzbank among the top losers on the sector index with a 2.4 per cent fall. Deutsche Bank, with whom Commerzbank is exploring a merger, dropped 1.9 per cent.

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European bank supervisors demanded a detailed roadmap outlining the pace and scale of staff cuts in the two banks as they explore a merger, according to a report by German daily Handelsblatt.

France's Safran SA slid 2 per cent as Boeing Co revealed a plan to cut 737 aircraft production by nearly a fifth.

Safran's joint venture with General Electric provides Boeing with engines for the 737.

Melrose Industries, another supplier to Boeing, slid 2 per cent, while Meggitt recouped early losses to end 0.2 per cent higher.

Boeing's French rival Airbus rose 1.7 per cent.

Real estate stocks fell 1.3 per cent with Deutsche Wohnen dropping 3.1 per cent following protests over the weekend demanding expropriation of apartments in Berlin that have been sold off to big private landlords.

The protests prompted a spokesman for the German government to say Chancellor Angela Merkel does not think "expropriating apartments is the right answer".

Germany's DAX index fell 0.4 per cent, snapping a seven-day winning streak. Data showed German exports and imports fell more than expected in February, the latest sign that Europe's biggest economy will probably post meagre growth in the first quarter.

Software firm SAP dropped as much as 2.2 per cent after it said the head of its cloud business group had quit, but regained some ground to close 0.6 per cent lower.

Continental AG slipped 1.1 per cent after Kepler Cheuvreux downgraded the auto parts maker to "hold" from "buy".

Auto stocks gave up a fraction of the ground they gained during a 6.9 per cent jump over the course of last week as they edged lower.

Daimler ended little changed. The German auto giant had been weighed down by the prospect of potentially hefty fines after EU antitrust regulators charged the firm along with Volkswagen and BMW with colluding to block the rollout of clean emissions technology.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) gained 1.9 per cent after agreeing to pay electric carmaker Tesla Inc hundreds of millions of euros to allow Tesla vehicles to be counted in its fleet to avoid fines for violating new EU emission rules.

Irish stocks, which are especially sensitive to the fallout of a potential hard Brexit, shed 1.4 per cent as they fell from a near six-month closing high clocked on Friday.

Britain's government has been in contact with the main opposition Labour Party and hopes there will be more talks later on Monday to find a compromise over a Brexit deal, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May said.

Oil and gas stocks were a rare spot of optimism on the day, their 0.9 per cent rise was supported by oil prices hitting a five-month peak.

REUTERS