EUROPE MARKETS: Banks, Oil Majors Drag European Stocks Lower Into The Close

By Carla Mozee and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Investors watch for news of coalition government agreement in Germany

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European stocks ended a choppy session in negative territory on Monday, with banking stocks leading the charge lower as shares of Swiss private banking group Julius Baer Gruppe AG were rocked by the sudden resignation of its chief executive, effective immediately.

Oil stocks were also weighing on sentiment, as they tracked a slide in oil prices ahead of the closely watched OPEC meeting on Thursday.

How stocks are trading: The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.5% to close at 384.87, after swinging between small gains and losses for most of the day.

In Germany, the DAX 30 benchmark ended 0.5% lower at 13,000.20, while France's CAC 40 index gave up 0.6% to 5,360.09. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index finished 0.4% lower at 7,383.90.

The euro bought $1.1922, down from $1.1932 late Friday in New York. The shared currency on Friday broke above $1.1900 for the first time since late September.

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What's in focus: Investors are watching for a breakthrough in the political stalemate in Germany. The Social Democrats have agreed to hold talks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/germanys-spd-says-willing-to-discuss-ways-to-end-countrys-political-crisis-2017-11-24) with other parties about forming a government, which could mean a new snap election may not be necessary.

However, SDP officials said that didn't necessarily mean they were ready to rebuild a "grand coalition" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats. Previously, the SPD said it wasn't going to enter another coalition but opt for new elections to resolve the impasse.

Read:Here's what Germany's political turmoil means for global markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-germanys-political-turmoil-means-for-global-markets-2017-11-20)

Also see:How German political turmoil could hurt sterling more than euro (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-german-political-turmoil-could-hurt-sterling-more-than-the-euro-2017-11-21)

Stock movers: Julius Baer shares (BAER.EB) sank 6.4% after an unexpected resignation of Boris Collardi as chief executive (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/julius-baer-appoints-bernhard-hodler-as-ceo-2017-11-27-24851231). Collardi, who was Julius Baer's chief executive for more than nine years, is stepping down immediately and will join privately owned Pictet Group in Geneva.

There was overall broad-based weakness in the sector on Monday, sending the Stoxx Europe 600 Bank Index down 0.7%.

Oil stocks were also moving lower, keying off a 1.7% plunge in crude-oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-slip-from-2-year-high-as-traders-brace-for-opec-meeting-2017-11-27) as some traders expressed doubt over an extension to a production-cut deal at the OPEC meeting later this week. Shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) and BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) each lost 1%, while ENI SpA (ENI.MI) dropped 0.9%.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.LN) (GSK.LN) gained 1.8% following a ratings upgrade of the drugmaker to buy from neutral at UBS. "We upgrade GSK to buy as we believe concerns of continuing earnings decline and the dividend sustainability are now overdone," said UBS analyst Michael Leuchten in a note.

What strategists are saying: "Political optimism is picking up in Germany as the Social Democrats in Germany are to meet with Christian Democratic Union later this week, to discuss the possibility of entering into a 'grand coalition'. The Germany economy has been managing just fine without a functioning government for the past two months, but investors would welcome some political stability," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden in a note.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 27, 2017 12:51 ET (17:51 GMT)