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Europe: Shares led down by energy, mining stocks; Italy shines on


[MILAN] European stocks fell on Tuesday, pulled down by commodities stocks, but retailers gained after Carrefour signed an online shopping partnership with Google.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the day down 0.1 per cent, although Italy's FTSE MIB climbed 0.2 per cent in its second day of gains.

Oil stocks fell as crude prices eased, with oil majors the biggest drags on the index. BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total declined 1 to 1.1 per cent.

Europe's mining index fell 1.4 per cent as copper prices slipped on a stronger dollar, leading sectoral losers in Europe.

Markets were largely unmoved by the summit meeting of the United States and North Korea, with its promise to work towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

"While the summit is unlikely to be immediately consequential for markets, the reduction in tail risks related to North Korea's nuclear weapons program could help reduce risk premia over the medium term, and help refocus investor attention on strong earnings and global economic fundamentals," said Mark Haefele, UBS Wealth Management's chief investment officer.

Carrefour gained 3.1 per cent after France's largest food retailer agreed an online shopping tie-up with Google.

H&M shares also climbed throughout the day to end up 5 per cent, top of the Stoxx 600. Shares in the Swedish fashion retailer have been volatile lately and Chairman Stefan Persson as been increasing his stake, fuelling specultion.

"The market is probably thinking it must improve as it can't get any worse," one trader said.

Casino led gainers at the open, rising as much as 9.6 per cent, as investors warmed to the French supermarket's plans to sell assets. It later fell back to close 1.8 per cent higher.

Gains in Carrefour and H&M helped retailers gain 0.6 per cent, the top-performing sector.

Ocado was the odd one out in retail, falling 4 per cent as investors took profit in the online grocer. Its shares are up around 150 per cent year-to-date, and it got two broker upgrades on Monday.

French tyre maker Michelin also fell, losing 2.9 per cent after reporting higher raw material and currency costs in an investor presentation.

Deutsche Post declined 2.5 per cent after a downgrade from RBC. Shares in Swiss asset manager GAM fell 4.7 per cent, the bottom of the Stoxx 600, after Vontobel cut its rating on the stock to "hold".

Overall investors have been growing more pessimistic on Europe. Global investors cut their allocations to European stocks to 18-month lows, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's monthly fund manager survey found.


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