LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - European shares fell in early deals on Wednesday, dragged lower by healthcare and utilities stocks, though upbeat results from a British housebuilder and support from mining firms helped limit losses.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.3 percent, extending losses from the previous session, while blue chips also fell 0.3 percent.
British housebuilder Persimmon was the biggest STOXX gainer, jumping around 3.4 percent following an upbeat trading statement, in which it reported a 7 percent rise in first-half sales with the market unaffected by the UK’s June general election.
Shares in peer Barratt Developments also gained 2.4 percent, while Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100, which outperformed the broader European market, gained 0.1 percent.
Online supermarket Ocado also rose 1.7 percent after it said that it expected the last month’s international deal to be the first of many as it reported its half year earnings.
Gains among mining firms such as Glencore, which rose 2.6 percent, also helped support UK shares, with BHP Billiton in tow as Chinese rebar futures rallied.
Credit Suisse upgraded the mining sector to “overweight” in its latest global equity strategy update, seeing the sector as a more rewarding play on higher oil prices, interest rates and inflation.
Healthcare stocks were led lower by GlaxoSmithKline, which fell after a downgrade from Citigroup to “neutral” from “buy”. (Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)