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European stocks lower as oil and bank shares are dragged down

Stock markets in Europe ebbed lower on Wednesday, as energy shares pulled back alongside a drop in oil prices, while France’s Société Générale SA and other bank stocks suffered.

The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.26% slipped 0.2% to 379.37, led lower by oil and gas, basic materials and financial stocks. But advancers included consumer services, health care and tech stocks. The pan-European benchmark on Tuesday closed up 0.6%.

Off the main indexes, Frankfurt-listed shares of Apple Inc. APC, +6.90% jumped 6.3%. The iPhone maker late Tuesday posted fiscal third-quarter earnings that surpassed Wall Street’s targets.

Commodities sag: The European basic resources group SXPP, -1.15% fell 1.2%, with pressure in part coming from Rio Tinto PLC RIO, -2.20% RIO, -0.53% RIO, -0.17% as its shares moved 2% lower. The iron ore producer’s first-half underlying earnings rose to $3.9 billion, below a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $4.19 billion. Rio Tinto did say it will buy back a further $1 billion in shares and that debt has been reduced.

Meanwhile, oil and gas shares SXEP, -0.39% overall were off 0.4% as crude prices CLU7, -0.33% LCOV7, -0.17% slumped 1%. Oil futures dropped late Tuesday after the American Petroleum Institute said U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly rose last week, by 1.8 million barrels. U.S. government data on weekly supply is due later Wednesday.

Shares of oil producer Tullow Oil PLC TLW, -2.59% were pulled down 2.8% and oil major BP PLC BP., -1.04% BP, +3.22% was 0.6% lower. Stock in Norwegian oil services company Subsea 7 SA SUBC, -2.73% slumped 2.7%.

Stock movers: Société Générale shares GLE, -4.53% were shoved down 4.5% after the France’s third-largest bank by assets said second-quarter net profit dropped 28% to 1.06 billion euros ($1.25 billion), hurt by litigation costs and persistently low interest rates.

Standard Chartered PLC STAN, -4.93% shares fell 3.9% after the London-listed, Asian-focused lender reported a quarterly profit in the first half, but failed to declare a dividend.

On the upside, shares of William Hill PLC WMH, +10.33% rallied 9.4%. The British bookmaker’s profit rose in the first half and the company struck an optimistic tone about progress for the year.

Individual indexes: France’s CAC 40 index PX1, -0.28% was off 0.1% at 5,124.59, and Germany’s DAX 30 DAX, -0.21% edged up 0.1% to 12,259.57.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, -0.36% shed 0.2% at 7,409.70, while Spain’s IBEX 35 IBEX, -0.28% gained 0.1% to 10,597.

The euro EURUSD, +0.3983% traded at $1.1855, up from $1.1802 late Tuesday in New York.

Source: MarketWatch

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