European Stocks Decline, Paring Best Start to a Year Since 1989

European stocks declined, paring the best start to a year since 1989, as banks and telecommunications companies dropped.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.5 percent to 367.05 at the close of trading. The gauge rose as much as 0.4 percent earlier, before falling as much as 0.7 percent as Russia’s central bank unexpectedly cut its key rate.

The benchmark measure still surged 7.2 percent in January as the European Central Bank unveiled a 1.1 trillion-euro ($ 1.2 trillion) quantitative-easing program to combat deflation. Euro-area consumer prices fell more than economists forecast in January, data showed today.

Greece’s ASE Index fell 1.6 percent, reversing earlier gains. The gauge has tumbled 14 percent this week amid concern a coalition led by Syriza, which won Sunday’s election, will challenge austerity measures. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he’s not interested in persuading Greece’s official creditors to release the final tranche of bailout funds.

The volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands was 19 percent greater than the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Source : Bloomberg