European shares hit by weaker commodity stocks and gloomy BOJ view
LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - European shares fell in early trading on Tuesday, mirroring weaker commodity prices and losses in Asia where stocks slipped after the Bank of Japan held policy steady and offered a bleaker view of the country's economy.
Six weeks after the radical shift to negative rates, the BOJ dropped references to take rates further negative, and widened an exemption to include $90 billion in short-term funds dubbed money-reserve funds (MRFs).
The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index fell 3 percent, the top sectoral decliner, after copper prices dropped as the dollar maintained its strength ahead of a slew of central bank meetings this week. The European oil and gas index was also down 1.2 percent as crude oil prices slipped.
Shares in BHP Billiton, Glencore and Rio Tinto fell 4.0 to 5.9 percent, putting pressure on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was down 0.9 percent at 1,343.91 points by 0820 GMT.
Bucking the trend, French telecoms operator SFR rose 2.8 percent after saying its core operating profit grew 20 percent to 3.86 billion euros ($4.29 billion) in 2015 as cost cuts offset declining mobile subscribers.
Investors will keep a close eye on other central bank meetings, with the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting finishing on Wednesday and meetings of the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank scheduled on Thursday. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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