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European shares down, FTSE on track for 5th week of gains
January 6, 2017 / 9:52 AM / a year ago

European shares down, FTSE on track for 5th week of gains

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* STOXX Europe 600 index falls

* FTSE set for 5th week of gains

* Focus on U.S. non-farm payrolls data

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell on Friday as commodity-related stocks dropped, but the benchmark stayed on track for its best weekly performance since the middle of December.

Britain’s commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index, trading 0.1 percent lower after hitting a record high the previous day, was on track for its fifth straight week of gains.

The STOXX 600 was down 0.3 percent by 0931 GMT, further retreating from a one-year high set earlier this week but still up nearly 1 percent this week.

Precious metals miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources fell more than 2 percent after gold slipped from one-month high on a surge in the dollar and ahead of U.S. jobs data later in the day.

UBS analyst Daniel Major stayed positive on the sector’s outlook. “Despite the uncertain gold price backdrop, looking into 2017 the European gold miners are in good shape from a cost and balance sheet perspective,” he said.

Large-cap gold miners including Randgold and Fresnillo also faced less pressure than some of their peers to lift capex to replace depleting reserves and offset declining production over the next 2 to 3 years, he said.

Energy shares also faced some selling pressure, with the European oil and gas index down 0.5 percent after oil prices fell on concerns that some producers might not implement announced cuts to curb global oversupply.

Investors awaited U.S. jobs data for cues about the stock market’s near-term direction. Non-farm payrolls likely increased by 178,000 jobs in December after the same gain in November, according to a Reuters survey of economists.

“Today’s focus will be the afternoon’s U.S. jobs report, not so much for the notorious volatility-inducing non-farm Payrolls but for accompanying metrics,” Henry Croft, analyst at Accendo Markets, said in a note.

“The unemployment rate is seen ticking up from December’s 9-year low, while wage growth accelerates, something which could imply rising inflationary pressures that force the Fed to hike (interest rates) more quickly in 2017.”

Shares in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rose 3.4 percent, the biggest riser in the STOXX 600 index, after Goldman Sachs added the stock to its “Conviction List” and raised its target price to 16.5 euros from 9.9 euros.

“In our view the market significantly underappreciates FCA’s ability to improve its NAFTA (North America) price-mix via shifting production away from mass-market cars and into more profitable vehicles,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note. (editing by John Stonestreet)

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