European stocks were lower in early trade, reducing their weekly gain, as commodity companies followed drops in oil and metal prices. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was down 0.4 percent.

Miners retreated for the second day, after hitting their highest level since 2014. Banks and automakers also fell. The pan-European benchmark declined on Thursday for the first time in eight sessions, breaking its longest rally in 19 months. The sentiment of analysts have mostly been upbeat about European equities after the Stoxx 600 posted its highest close since December 2015 in the week.

Allianz SE advanced 2.8 percent after the Europe's biggest insurance company proposed spending three billion euros on purchasing back its own shares after reporting a higher than expected profit growth. Shares of Royal Vopak NV plunged nine percent, the biggest decliner of the Stoxx 600, following its announcement that this year's earnings will not surpass 2016's figures.

Volkswagen AG led losses in automakers, off by 2.3 percent after global sales of its own brand vehicles declined in January. Stoxx 600 banks are on track for the fifth consecutive monthly gain, which will be the longest winning streak in three years.

2017.07.24 05:49:00 UTC+00

Oil Edges Up Ahead of OPEC Convention

Oil prices gained ground following a steep decline in the session before, bolstered by bets that a joint meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC members later today may tackle the increasing output by Nigeria and Libya, two members of the cartel that has been excluded from an initiative to lower production.

London Brent crude edged up by 24 cents at $48.30 per barrel. The crude contract finished down $1.24 or 2.5 percent down after a consultancy said it expected an increase in OPEC production this month despite the pact to curb output.

NYMEX crude futures rose 17 cents at $45.94.

Energy ministers from OPEC and other non-OPEC crude producers will meet in St. Petersburg to talk about the deal to lower oil output by 1.8 million bpd until the end of March 2018.

The committee is seen to suggest a conditional limit on Nigeria and Libya's oil production, according to sources privy to the matter. However, output cuts by Libya and Nigeria would be almost unlikely given that Libya has just begun to bolster production in the aftermath of the civil war.

Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab has raised a total of $2.5 billion from investors including Chinese peer Didi Chuxing and Japan's SoftBank, marking the biggest funding in a tech startup in Southeast Asia in history.

The fundraising will improve Grab's position as the top ride-hailing firm in the fast-expanding region with a population of over 600 million and solidify its lead over its rival Uber.

The current shareholders Didi and SoftBank has injected another $2 billion into Grab, while the Singapore-based firm has raised another $500 million from other new and existing investors, according to the company's statement released on Monday.

The latest funding round gives the company, which was established in 2012 by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, a market cap of over $6 billion according to a source.

Grab has a market share of 95 percent in third-party taxi hailing and 71 percent in private ride hailing in the Southeast asia region, with almost 3 million daily rides.

It said it would utilize the new funds to strengthen its position in the ride-hailing market and finance its new mobile payments platform, GrabPay.

The demand for assets of Nomura Holdings Inc.'s India equity fund that it increased by almost four-fold to almost 400 billion yen in just the last year. . Japanese investors owned $13 billion of Indian stocks and bonds at the end of June, the most data going back to 2012, according to the country's regulator.

Nomura said that they have not exerted any special marketing campaign for the fund, and its significant increase is attributed to investors looking for an asset where the growth in the medium to long term, without having concerns regarding sudden swings in the market.

India's economy is growing at around seven times the rate of Japan's, bolstered by a blooming middle class and over one million young people entering the labor force each month. India shares have reached numerous record levels amid the positive prospect regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies.

Indian money managers have started to call a “consensus trade”, denoting that almost each fund is bullish. Funds from all around the world and even those that are local have injected around $16 billion into the stock market so far this 2017 and bolstering the rupee up 5.6 percent versus the dollar.

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Jul 24 at 14:32 UTC

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