European shares fall after three days of gains; HelloFresh tumbles By Reuters

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© Reuters. A TV presenter gets ready for the daily reporting from the floor of the German share price index DAX at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 15, 2023. REUTERS/Staff

By Ankika Biswas and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -Europe’s benchmark index fell on Thursday, dragged down by energy stocks, following a three-day run of gains on hopes for a peak in interest rate policy tightening and eventual rate cuts.

The pan-European closed 0.7% lower after gaining 2.5% over the past three days and hitting a more than one-month high on Wednesday.

During the week, inflation data out of the United States and Britain reinforced hopes that their central banks were done raising rates. Investors are shifting focus to the euro zone’s inflation reading on Friday.

“A bit of profit-taking is going on following the wave of euphoria after lower-than-expected inflation led to quite a lot of optimism that perhaps rate cuts would come sooner rather than later,” said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“Also, clouds have been gathering over the euro zone economy for some time with Germany in particular facing a slowdown.”

Energy stocks led sectoral declines with a 2.7% fall, tracking weakness in prices on signals of higher supply in the United States and expectations of weak energy demand in China.

Also dampening the mood was fresh data pointing to persistent problems in China’s housing sector that could disrupt the top metal consumer’s overall recovery.

The luxury goods sector eased 1.5%.

Prominent names, including Kering (EPA:), LVMH and Richemont shed between 1.8% and 2.7% each. This followed Burberry’s 11.1% drop after the British luxury fashion brand said it was grappling with a slowdown in global spending on luxury and would struggle to meet its annual revenue forecast.

HelloFresh (OTC:) slumped 22.4% to the bottom of the STOXX 600 after the German meal-kit maker cut its annual core profit outlook and narrowed revenue growth guidance.

German chemicals maker BASF lost 2.5% following a Jefferies rating downgrade.

On the upside, Embracer rose 3.2% after the Swedish games developer posted a bigger-than-expected second-quarter operating profit.

Siemens gained 5.7% after the trains-to-industrial software maker posted better-than-estimated fourth-quarter industrial profit, helping rise 0.2%.

Spain’s parliament voted to make Pedro Sanchez prime minister for another term, ending a protracted deadlock after an inconclusive general election in July. Spain’s IBEX gained 0.3%.

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