European stocks, which plunged 17 percent to start the year then recouped half the losses, are suddenly treading water. The onset of calm is failing to stem a crush of withdrawals among fund investors.
After surging 14 percent in a five-week rebound through March 14, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index has hit a wall. It’s traded in a range of about 14 points for most of March and is heading for a 2 percent monthly advance, the smallest move in almost a year.
Investors who got burned earlier this year as the region’s equities entered bear territory are reluctant to return to the market amid a faltering recovery. Economic data have been missing projections since January, analysts estimate a 1.6 percent drop in net income for Stoxx 600 companies this year, and managers have withdrawn money from European equity funds for seven straight weeks, the longest streak since October 2014, according to a Bank of America Corp. survey.