LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Thursday, dropping further from their highest levels of the year, though drugmaker Actelion provided support after it entered exclusive discussions with prospective bidder Johnson & Johnson.
The STOXX 600 was down 0.2 percent, falling for a second straight session after hitting its highest level since Jan. 4 on Tuesday.
Outside the STOXX 600, shares in Monte Paschi failed to open, and were indicated down 6 percent. It failed to find an anchor investor for its private rescue plan on Wednesday, and looks set for a state bailout.
Miners were the biggest sectoral fallers, down 0.9 percent as copper hit a 1-month low.
Top STOXX 600 riser was Actelion, which rose 7.7 percent to hit a record high.
The Swiss biotech company has turned back to potential acquirer Johnson & Johnson for exclusive talks about a “strategic transaction”, in an about-turn that appears to sideline rival suitor Sanofi.
Sanofi rose 1.8 percent.
Nokia was the top faller on the index, down 4.3 percent after it said it had filed a number of lawsuits against Apple for violating technology patents.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Alison Williams