ОПЕК. Нефть в нисходящем тренде
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LONDON (Dow Jones)--European stock markets declined on Wednesday, led down by resource stocks as lower commodity and oil prices put pressure on shares.
The German DAX Xetra 30 index declined 1%, or 56 points, at 5,617, the French CAC 40 index eased 1%, or 51 points, at 4,888 and the U.K. FTSE 100 index dipped 1%, or 55 points, at 5,690.
The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 fell 0.7% to 318.75, with the resource part of the index down 1.6% and the oil and gas component recently 1.5% lower.
Notably, miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto lost around 4% in London, while oil stocks such as BP and Total declined around 2% each.
The resource declines came as light sweet crude continued on its downward trend in Wednesday electronic trade. It was recently down 13 cents at $62.96 a barrel. Gold prices also fell, with the April contract trading down $2.80 at $552 an ounce.
Investors in the sector could also be eyeing the next round of steel pricing amid concerns that Chinese steel capacity will increase in 2006.
U.S. stocks also added some pressure to the overall European market after ending lower overnight, as a warning from homebuilder Toll Brothers raised concern that the housing market, one of the main drivers of the economy, may be cooling off.
Elsewhere, automakers defied traditional supports of lower oil prices and a weaker euro to trade generally lower in Europe on Wednesday.
The sector was led down by French automaker Peugeot, which slipped 3.1% in Paris after releasing mixed margin guidance alongside its 2005 earnings.
The car maker said that that its 2005 profit slipped 37.5% to EUR1.03 billion, with revenue up 0.3% to EUR56.27 billion and its operating margin falling to 3.4% from 4.4%.
For 2006, it sees a return to sales growth in Europe, but said that operating margin will be similar in the first half to the 2.8% margin of the second half of 2005, and that operating margins will rise in the second half of 2006.
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