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* STOXX 600 index ends 0.5 pct lower
* Fingerprint and Lonza among top fallers
* Oil index biggest sectoral gainer
By Danilo Masoni and Atul Prakash
MILAN/LONDON, Dec 12 Europe retreated from an
11-month high on Monday with falls in shares such as Swedish
biometric technology firm Fingerprint and Swiss
drugmaker Lonza outweighing a rally in oil stocks which
reached near 17-month highs.
Fingerprint, the biggest faller in the pan-European STOXX
600, extended recent losses and ended 9.5 percent lower
after hitting a 14-month low earlier in the day due to a sharp
cut in its revenue forecast last week.
Shares in Swiss pharmaceutical company Lonza fell
5.3 percent after it said it was in advanced talks to buy U.S.
drugs capsule maker Capsugel. Sources earlier told Reuters the
deal could be worth more than $5 billion.
Baader Bank analyst Laura Lopez Pineda said the deal made
strategic sense, but worries it may need a capital increase to
finance it may weigh on Lonza's shares. The fall dragged down
Europe's STOXX Healthcare index, which closed 0.9
The STOXX Europe 600 index finished 0.5 percent lower after
hitting its highest level in around 11 months earlier in the
session. It remains down more than 3 percent so far this year.
Among the top losers was precious metal miner Polymetal
. It fell 4.7 percent, tracking a drop in gold to a
10-month low on concerns that a possible U.S. rate hike this
week could curb demand..
But losses in the broader market were limited by a rally in
crude oil. Crude prices climbed to their highest since mid-2015
after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and
non-OPEC producers reached their first deal since 2001 to
jointly reduce output.
"Although the crude oil rally has already started at the end
of last month when the OPEC first announced the deal, I think
there is plenty of fuel left in this rally," FOREX.com analyst
Fawad Razaqzada said.
The STOXX Oil & Gas index closed 1.7 percent firmer
after hitting its highest since July 2015. Oil stocks such as
Tullow Oil, Petrofac and Eni were among
the top STOXX gainers, rising 3.7 to 5.2 percent.
Italy's FTSE MIB index closed 0.4 percent higher
after rising more than 1 percent earlier in the session as
Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni was tasked to form a new
However, Italian banks reversed their early
gains to finish 0.9 percent lower, driven by ongoing concerns
about Monte dei Paschi's plan to raise 5 billion euros
on the market this year.
"His (Gentiloni's) first problem remains the fate of Monte
dei Paschi and the prospect that the bank could well need
bailing out," said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.
UniCredit, the country's biggest bank, closed 3
percent lower following lingering concerns about the broader
Italian banking sector. The stock had rallied in the morning
session after a deal to sell asset manager Pioneer to France's
Amundi for 3.5 billion euros.
Amundi shares rose over 5.4 percent to a record high
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Larry King and