European stocks end mixed; miners gain
European stock markets closed mixed in light post holiday trade on Wednesday, with miners pushing higher, while Italian banks led decliners on ongoing concerns about the future of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.23% rose 0.3% to close at 361.53, after rising 0.1% on Tuesday, which was the first trading day after Christmas.
BHP Billiton PLC BLT, -1.07% BHP, +1.63% BHP, +0.24% was among the biggest gainers, up 4.3%, tracking gains from the Australian session where the mining sector led the benchmark S&P ASX 200 XJO, +0.25% to the highest close since August 2015.
Other miners were also on the rise in Europe, with shares of Fresnillo PLC FRES, +2.22% rising 5.2% and Anglo American PLC AAL, -0.43% climbed 3.6%.
The gains helped lift the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.02% 0.5% to 7,106.08. It was the first the trading day in London after the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays.
Italian bank woes: Banks in Italy, however, capped gains for the pan-European index. Shares of Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl PMI, -1.71% lost 2.7%, Banco Popolare SC BP, -1.34% dropped 2.2% and Unione di Banche Italiane SpA UBI, -1.04% gave up 3.3%. Shares of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA BMPS, -7.48% were still halted for trade.
Late on Monday night, BMPS said the European Central Bank found the bank’s capital shortfall is far higher than the €5 billion expected when the government last week organized a rescue for the lender. The hole in Monte dei Paschi’s balance sheet is now €8.8 billion, according to the ECB, partly because of large outflows of deposits in recent months.
Italy’s FTSE MIB index I945, +0.10% dropped 0.8% to 19,239.39.
Germany’s DAX 30 index DAX, -0.28% closed marginally higher at 11,474.99, while France’s CAC 40 index PX1, -0.12% dropped 0.27 points to 4,848.01.