March 15, 2016 / 9:26 AM / 3 years ago

Weaker commodity stocks and gloomy BOJ view hit European shares

* Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index retreats

* Miners among top decliners as metals slip

* Galenica shares slump after results

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - European shares retreated on Tuesday, mirroring weaker commodity prices and losses in Asia where stocks slipped after the Bank of Japan held policy steady and offered a bleaker view of the country’s economy.

Six weeks after the shift to negative rates, the BOJ dropped references to taking rates down further and widened an exemption to include $90 billion in short-term funds known as money-reserve funds.

“The BOJ is running out of monetary policy firepower so it was not a surprise to see that there is no change to the policy this week,” said Lorne Baring, managing director at B Capital Wealth Management.

“Also, China’s industrial output figures at the weekend showed contraction yet again and underscore the weakness in demand from the world’s second largest economy. There is still a soft demand coupled with (an) excess supply story in the commodities spectrum.”

The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index fell 4.3 percent, the top sectoral decliner, as copper prices dropped. The European oil and gas index was also down 1.7 percent as crude oil prices slipped.

Shares in BHP Billiton, Glencore and Rio Tinto fell 4.4 to 8.7 percent, putting pressure on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was down 0.9 percent at 1,344.31 points by 0901 GMT.

Investors will keep a close eye on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting finishing on Wednesday and on meetings of the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank scheduled on Thursday.

Galenica shares slumped 11 percent after the healthcare company announced its results and confirmed that the division of the group into two independent listed companies was planned for 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 2.8 percent after saying its core operating profit grew 20 percent to 3.86 billion euros ($4.29 billion) in 2015 as cost cuts offset declining mobile subscribers.

Among mid-cap companies, British online grocery Ocado rose 7 percent after reporting higher sales growth in its first quarter.

Today’s European research round-up

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