(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report for more details)
* FTSEurofirst index falls more than 1 percent
* Weaker mining and energy stocks weigh on markets
* Next slumps after painting cautious outlook
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - European equities fell for a fourth straight session on Thursday, weighed down by a drop in the shares of major mining and energy companies, while fashion retailer Next also slumped.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 1.3 percent on the last trading day of the week, with volumes relatively thin ahead of the Easter holidays.
The U.S. dollar rose on currency markets after St Louis Fed President James Bullard said another U.S. interest rate hike “may not be far off.”
However, this in turn impacted European mining stocks since a stronger dollar makes metals more expensive for the holders of other currencies.
Shares in Anglo American, Glencore, Rio Tinto all slumped, with the STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources Index -- which contains those mining stocks -- down 1.8 percent.
The STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index also shed 1.4 percent, dragged down by a drop in Royal Dutch Shell, Total and BP, as oil prices fell.
“Equity markets are moving into the Easter holiday long weekend on a more cautious note, with a stronger dollar following some hawkish Fed comments weighing on the commodities space,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.
“Oil prices have also been hit by ever rising U.S. crude inventories, adding to global supply glut concerns.”
British clothing retailer Next slumped 14 percent. Next posted a 5 percent rise in annual profit, but cautioned 2016 could be the toughest it has faced since 2008 as it anticipates a more difficult economic environment.
The FTSEurofirst 300 is down by around 8 percent since the start of 2016, partly due to worries about a China-led global economic slowdown.
Today’s European research round-up
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Keith Weir)