European shares fall for third week in a row, miners worst hit



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* STOXX 600 falls for third straight week

* UK mulls easing travel restrictions

* Miners shed nearly 8% for the week

* Travel & leisure leads weekly sectoral gains

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Sept 17 (Reuters) - European stocks fell on Friday, capping their third straight week in the red as the basic resources sector was hit by declines in Anglo American, but news that Britain was mulling easing travel restrictions boosted airlines and hotel groups.

Anglo American AAL.L tumbled 8.1% after Morgan Stanley and UBS downgraded the stock. The European mining index .SXPP was also hit by worries about slowing growth in China, falling nearly 8% for the week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX fell 0.9% on the day.

London's miner-heavy FTSE 100 .FTSE index shed 0.9%, while German stocks .GDAXI fell 1.0%.

Most regional indexes were pressured this week on worries about slowing global growth and tighter regulation of Chinese firms.

"Although still fairly measured at present, this current selloff has the potential to be one of the most dramatic pullbacks we have seen all year, as inflation, stagflation, slowdown and virus risks all combine to knock back European and U.S. markets," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

Meanwhile, after closing up 3.4% on Thursday in one of the best single-day performances this year, the European travel and leisure index .SXTP added 1.2%. The index closed 2.7% higher for week, leading gains across European sectors.

Wizz Air WIZZ.L , British-Airways-owner IAG ICAG.L and InterContinental Hotels IHG.L rose between 2% and 5% after Britain said it would simplify COVID-19 rules for international travel.

While European stock markets looked set to end the week on a steady footing, next week could be pivotal in determining near-term market direction, with the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England's policy meetings, as well as German elections on deck.

"If the caution we have seen this week does carry over into Monday and beyond, then the next Fed meeting provides another reason to tread carefully," IG's Beauchamp said.

China-exposed luxury stocks such as LVMH LVMH.PA , Kering PRTP.PA , Hermes HRMS.PA and Richemont CFR.S rebounded, following sharp losses earlier this week on fears of fresh coronavirus-related restrictions and regulatory moves in China.

Germany's Commerzbank CBKG.DE climbed 1.2% after a Handelsblatt report said U.S. investor Cerberus was considering taking a 15.6% state in the bank after the federal election.

Spanish pharmaceuticals company Grifols GRLS.MC rose 5.8% after it proposed a 1.6 billion euro ($1.9 billion) takeover of its German rival Biotest BIOG.DE , in a move to consolidate the plasma-based drug industry.

Data showed British retail sales unexpectedly fell again in August in what is now a record streak of monthly declines.


Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Andrew Heavens

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