European shares falter as year-end rally fades
European shares looked set to end the decade with a whimper on Tuesday as investors locked in gains after a record rally that was fueled by optimism around trade and easing fears of a global recession.
In a shortened session ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebrations, the pan-European STOXX 600 index shed 0.3%.
“While market volumes are predictably light, investors continue to strike a year-end cautionary tone as December optimism is gradually giving way to 2020’s uncertainty,”
Global equities notched multiple record highs in December as investors cheered a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade negotiations and signs of a smoother Brexit.
The upbeat mood, coupled with robust economic data and a relatively loose monetary policy by the world’s most influential central banks, have set the benchmark European index on course for its biggest annual gain since the global financial crisis.
For European investors, Brexit clouds are gathering again.
Traders will also be looking at Germany for concrete signs of economic growth, after Europe’s powerhouse teetered on the brink of recession this year.
Despite equities in the country being highly sensitive to trade progress, German shares rose only 0.1% in December, widely under performing their regional peers.
For the year, the STOXX 600 rose about 23%, but lagged both the wider MSCI world index and the benchmark S&P 500 .