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EUROPE MARKETS: Mining Stocks Gain Ground, But European Indexes Pull Back

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07/17/2017 | 11:34am CEST

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

U.K. government announces contract winners for high-speed railway project

Stocks in Europe edged lower Monday, but mining shares kept the upward pace after China's quarterly growth figures topped expectations.

The Stoxx Europe 600 turned down 0.2% to 386,17 as most major European indexes began to reverse course and lose ground. Last week, the Stoxx 600 rose 1.8%, the largest gain since early May.

Among key benchmarks, Germany's DAX 30 index fell 0.6% to 12,561. There, shares of Commerzbank AG (>> Commerzbank) were down 0.5%, with a downgrade to hold from buy of the lender at Kepler Cheuvreux, according to Dow Jones Newswires. France's CAC 40 index fell 0.4% to 5,218.06.

But the telecom group put in the best performance Monday on the Stoxx 600, with Telenor ASA (>> Telenor) soaring 7.6% after the Norwegian telecom company launched a new share buyback program and raised guidance .

Gains in the basic materials group were led by mining stocks, which were bolstered after China's second-quarter gross domestic product growth came in at 6.9%, higher than a 6.8% estimate in a Wall Street Journal survey of economists. Data from China, a major consumer of industrial and precious metals, also showed strengthening in industrial production and retail sales.

In the group, shares of diversified miner Anglo American (>> Anglo American) tacked on 2.3%, as did shares of gold miner Centamin PLC . Commodity producer and trader Glencore PLC (>> Glencore) picked up 2.2%. Steel pipes producer Tenaris SA(>> Tenaris) moved up 1.5%.

China's "solid growth reinforces recoveries for commodity exporters and keeps 2017's pickup in global growth on track," said Bill Adams, senior international economist at PNC Financial Services Group, in a note. "And with little sign of global inflationary pressure from either labor markets or commodity prices, this global expansion has room to run."

Stock movers: Carillion PLC shares (>> Carillion) zoomed up 17% as the infrastructure services company's joint venture partnership won two U.K. government contracts worth 1.4 billion pounds ($1.80 billion). The companies will help build Britain's planned High Speed 2 railway.

Balfour Beatty PLC's (>> Balfour Beatty) joint venture also landed two HS2 contracts, valued at GBP2.5 billion. Its shares claimed at 2.8% rise.

ITV PLC shares (>> ITV) climbed 2.9% after the U.K. broadcaster said easyJet PLC's (>> EasyJet) boss Carolyn McCall will become its new chief executive on Jan. 8 . EasyJet said it's already started looking for McCall's successor. Shares of the budget airline reversed course and rose 0.3%.

Other indexes: The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.2% to 7,390.91. Spain's IBEX 35 shed 0.3% to 10,616.

The euro traded at $1.1452, down from $1.1470 late Friday in New York.

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