Miners, UK homebuilders support FTSE, rate-sensitives drag Europe

LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) – European shares fell in early
deals on Wednesday, dragged lower by healthcare and utilities
stocks, though upbeat results from a British housebuilder and
support from mining firms helped limit losses.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.3
percent, extending losses from the previous session, while blue
chips also fell 0.3 percent.

British housebuilder Persimmon was the biggest STOXX
gainer, jumping around 3.4 percent following an upbeat trading
statement, in which it reported a 7 percent rise in first-half
sales with the market unaffected by the UK’s June general
election.

Shares in peer Barratt Developments also gained 2.4
percent, while Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100, which
outperformed the broader European market, gained 0.1 percent.

Online supermarket Ocado also rose 1.7 percent
after it said that it expected the last month’s international
deal to be the first of many as it reported its half year
earnings.

Gains among mining firms such as Glencore,
which rose 2.6 percent, also helped support UK shares, with BHP
Billiton in tow as Chinese rebar futures rallied.

Credit Suisse upgraded the mining sector to “overweight” in
its latest global equity strategy update, seeing the sector as a
more rewarding play on higher oil prices, interest rates and
inflation.

Healthcare stocks were led lower by GlaxoSmithKline,
which fell after a downgrade from Citigroup to “neutral” from
“buy”.
(Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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