November 18, 2016 / 5:55 PM / 3 years ago

European shares close lower as dollar strength hits miners

(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets) Adds details, updates prices)

* STOXX Europe 600 closes 0.4 percent lower

* Miners under pressure following dollar rally

* Banks weighed down by weak Italian lenders

By Danilo Masoni and Atul Prakash

MILAN, Nov 18 (Reuters) - European equities ended lower on Friday, with mining and energy stocks bearing the brunt of the sell off after commodities prices slipped following a rally in the dollar.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed 0.4 percent lower after rising earlier in the session to a one-week high. However, the index finished for a second straight week in positive territory, helped by a pledge by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to boost infrastructure spending.

Italian stocks, down 1.8 percent, underperformed the broader stock market after banks hit six-week lows, hurt by the prospect of a referendum vote on Dec. 4 that could topple Matteo Renzi’s reformist government.

“The constitutional referendum in Italy on 4 December is another overhang that needs to be navigated first,” Berenberg said in a note.

“And, should a No vote prevail, this would add further uncertainty to the political situation, putting more pressure on the banks and potentially making it more difficult for them to raise capital.”

Recent polls suggest Italians may reject Renzi’s proposed constitutional reform and he has pledged to resign if he loses. Markets fear political instability could stall Italy’s efforts to reform its banks, which have a combined 356 billion euros ($378 billion) in soured loans left by a deep recession.

Italy’s banking sector index fell 2.5 percent to its lowest level since Oct. 5, weighed down by losses between 0.9 percent and 5.2 percent in Banco Popolare, UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo.

Europe’s basic resources index, which includes big London-listed miners, was the biggest sectoral loser, down 1.9 percent, following gains in the previous session. Precious metals miners also lost ground after prices of gold fell on currency moves.

While Trump’s infrastructure plans could boost demand for metals, their prices, which are denominated in dollars, have been hit by the surge in the U.S. currency.

Shares in Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Antofagasta, Fresnillo and Randgold Resources fell 2.9 to 6.9 percent.

Investors have turned more cautious in assessing the possible impact of Trump for European equities.

The STOXX 600 has risen more than 1 percent since Trump’s win, as expectations of fiscal stimulus under his administration propelled cyclical stocks, but falls in income stocks such as utilities have meant the index remains within the tight range it has been moving in for the past 16 weeks.

In the construction sector, LafargeHolcim rose 2.4 percent after the building materials giant cut its mid-term profit outlook but sweetened the pill by saying it planned an improved payout for shareholders as well as 1 billion Swiss francs worth of share buybacks.

Nibe Industrier was the biggest gainer on the STOXX 600 index, up 4.6 percent, after Kepler Cheuvreux raised its price target on the heat pump maker. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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