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Europe: Shares edge lower, BHP Billiton falls after asset writedown

Europe's leading stock markets rebounded very slightly at the start of trading on Thursday, as investors awaited the outcome of the European Central Bank's first policy meeting of the year.

[LONDON] European shares edged lower on Friday, knocked by falls in commodity-related stocks but supported by a rise in H&M after well-received December sales numbers.

BHP Billiton fell 4 per cent, the top faller on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, after it said it would write down the value its US shale assets by US$7.2 billion, cementing expectations it will be forced to cut its dividend for the first time in over 25 years.

The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index was down 2.9 per cent, with Rio Tinto, Glencore and Antofagasta also among top fallers.

By 0810 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.2 per cent at 1,332.28 points.

The top riser was H&M, up 3.2 per cent after it posted a rise in sales in December which beat forecasts.