European shares erase early gains
European equities erased earlier gains yesterday as food and health shares declined and optimism stemming from China's monetary easing evaporated.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.24pc after rising as much as 0.4pc earlier.
Nestle dropped 1.7pc and drinks firm Anheuser-Busch Inbev fell 0.5pc after Goldman Sachs cut the stock to neutral. Drug maker Novartis retreated 2.3pc.
European stocks lost 13pc of their value in 2018, the worst performance since the 2008 financial crisis, as a mix of political and economic growth concerns pushed investors to exit.
Although the People's Bank of China cut required reserves for banks, softening its policy amid trade tensions with the United States, and oil heading for its longest rally in more than 17 months, traders' optimism was fleeting.
Miners, which were battered last year by the US-China trade war, advanced on hopes that growth in China will remain robust.
In Ireland, the Iseq Overall Index slipped alongside European peers.
Just minutes before the close, it was 0.1pc lower, at 5,646.
Stocks on the move included Bulmers maker C&C, which had advanced 3pc to €2.88, while the Dublin-listed shares of baked goods firm Aryzta were 8.5pc higher at €1.10.
Decliners included forecourt retailer Applegreen, which was 5.2pc lower near the close at €5.78. Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa was down 5pc at €23.26.
The UK's FTSE-100 had retreated 0.5pc as the session was near its end. Germany's DAX was 0.4pc lower and France's CAC-40 had declined 0.5pc.