LONDON Jan 5 European shares headed lower for a
second straight session on Thursday after recent strong gains,
with insurers leading the market lower after JP Morgan cut its
rating for several companies in the sector.
RSA Insurance fell 2.2 percent after JP Morgan
downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "overweight", while
Hannover Rueck fell 2.7 percent after the investment
bank cut its price target to 102 euros from 108 euros.
The European insurance index was down 0.9 percent,
the biggest faller in the pan-European STOXX 600 index,
which fell 0.3 percent. The STOXX 600, which hit a one-year high
on Tuesday, closed 0.1 percent lower in the previous session.
Worst performer across the European benchmark was Rolls
Royce which fell more than 3 percent. The stock suffered
a price target at JPMorgan.
Rolls-Royce led the loser board on Britain's FTSE 100 index
which held near record highs underpinned by a 1.3
percent rise in the UK mining index following an
increase in industrial metals prices on brightening outlook for
Chinese metals demand.
Embattled retailer Next PLC fell another 2 percent
in early trades setting its shares up for the worst three-day
loss in nearly two decades.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash and Helen Reid, Editing by Vikram