European stocks fell for a second day, trimming their annual advance as they’re poised to post their worst December since 2002.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.3 percent at 8:12 a.m. in London, with the volume of shares changing hands more than two-thirds lower than the 30-day average. Markets including Germany, Switzerland and Italy are closed, while the U.K., France and the Netherlands will shut by 1:05 p.m. today.
Energy companies led the losses on Thursday, and almost all Stoxx 600 industry groups fell.
While the Stoxx 600 is heading for a third weekly advance, that wasn’t enough to erase monthly losses. The gauge has fallen 4.8 percent in December, trimming its annual rise to 7.1 percent, after surging as much as 21 percent through its April record, buoyed by the European Central Bank’s stimulus — concerns that China’s slowdown would hamper the global recovery took over, just as oil and commodities deepened their slumps and the Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time in more than a decade.
That’s still better than the U.S. market. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is little changed for 2015, after three years of gains surpassing 11 percent. And with a valuation of 16 times estimated earnings, Stoxx 600 shares remain cheaper than U.S. ones.