European stocks lose ground

By AFP

July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 15, 2009 at 7:01 AM CDT

Europe's main equity markets fell on Monday, mirroring earlier losses in Asia, as investors locked in profits and mining companies were hit by retreating metal prices, dealers said.

In late morning trading, London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares slid 1.74 percent to 4,364.84 points.

In Frankfurt the DAX 30 declined 2.23 percent to 4,956.18 points nearing the half-way mark and the Paris CAC 40 dipped 1.71 percent to 3,269.38.

The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone shares slid 1.74 percent to 2,465.62 points.

On the foreign exchange market, the European single currency slumped to 1.3879 dollars on concerns that the eurozone economy may take a while longer to recover.

"Miners were the main culprit... as they took a combined hit from a strong dollar coupled with a fall in commodity prices," said analyst Philip Gillet at financial spread-betting firm IG Index.

He added: "Right now, investors seem happy taking any quick wins while they can, waiting to see where the next major movements will come from."

Elsewhere on Monday, Hong Kong shares shed 2.07 percent, and Tokyo fell 0.95 percent, matching falls across other Asian markets as investors looked to grab profits, dealers said.

Nervous investors were also keeping one eye on the latest swine flu developments, said dealer Matt Buckland at CMC Markets.

Authorities appealed for calm on Monday after Britain confirmed the first swine flu death outside the Americas and the pandemic spread to isolated island communities in Asia.

"We are still some way from this having a tangible economic impact, but comments suggest that the spread of a virus like this will be unpredictable in its nature so this could again add to the caution and once again give traders reason not to push the FTSE 100 back above that 4,500 level," Buckland said.

Three days after the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic, the government in Scotland announced late Sunday that an infected patient who also had "underlying health conditions" had died in hospital.

It was the first death in a patient with the A(H1N1) virus outside the Americas since the first cases were reported in Mexico two month ago.

Before the weekend, Wall Street stocks had closed mixed Friday in range-bound trade as a decline in crude prices weighed on heavyweight oil majors and investors shrugged off disappointing consumer sentiment data.

After zigzagging into and out of positive territory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.32 percent to end at 8,799.41 points.

The tech-studded Nasdaq fell 0.19 percent to 1,858.80, while the broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 0.14 percent to close at 946.19.

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