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Europe: Shares led lower by commodity stocks, gloomy BOJ view

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[LONDON] European shares retreated on Tuesday, led lower by commodity stocks, after the Bank of Japan left policy unchanged but presented a bleaker view of the country's economy.

Weak US retail sales data also raised concern about growth prospects for the world's largest economy, just before the Federal Reserve's policy statement on Wednesday, which will be closely monitored for clues to future interest rate moves.

"The market is wary of potentially hawkish remarks that would suggest a June rate rise is firmly back on the table," Gain Capital Fawad Razaqzada said.

"But in the event that the Fed sounds more dovish than expected, stocks are likely to stage a relief rally."

Market voices on:

Earlier on Tuesday, the Bank of Japan said it would maintain its asset-buying programme at existing levels but offered a bleaker view of the economy, suggesting it may roll out more stimulus to reach an elusive inflation target.

The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index fell 4.7 per cent, the top sectoral decliner, as copper prices dipped. The European oil and gas index was also down 1.8 per cent as crude oil prices slipped.

Shares in BHP Billiton, Glencore, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta fell 3.9 to 6.5 per cent, putting pressure on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which fell 1.1 per cent at 1,341.5 points.

Galenica shares slumped 14.2 per cent after the healthcare company announced its results and confirmed the group planned to divide itself into two independent listed companies in the fourth quarter of this year.

Traders said its shares fell as the company's outlook was vague and disappointing.

Bucking the trend, French telecoms operator SFR rose 1.4 per cent. The company reported its core operating profit rose 20 per cent to 3.86 billion euros in 2015 as cost cuts offset declining mobile subscribers.