RTTNews - The European markets fell on Monday, as mining stocks lost ground after metals prices declined and airline stocks retreated after the International Air Transport Association said that sales may fall 15% this year.

The Standard & Poor's downgraded Ireland's credit rating for the second time this year, citing fears that the government is set to incur a higher-than-expected cost for supporting banks. The S&P lowered Ireland's rating to AA from AA+. In March, the agency had cut the rating from the top AAA to AA+.

Crude for July delivery fell $0.02 to $68.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed. The contract dropped as low as $66.78 a barrel earlier in the session.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.17% lower at 865.11 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.50% to 2,135.59 points.

Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index fell 0.75% to 4,405.22, while France's CAC 40 index slipped 1.48% 3,289.66 and Germany's DAX index dropped 5,004.72.

Mining stocks slipped after copper, lead and nickel prices fell in London. BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, slid 3.9%, while Anglo American, the second biggest, dropped 4.7% and Rio Tinto, the third biggest, declined 2.5%. Copper miner Antofagasta lost 2.1%.

Airline stocks edged lower after the International Air Transport Association said airline losses worldwide may total $9 billion in 2009. Air France-KLM, Europe's largest airline, dropped 3.4%, while Lufthansa, the second largest, fell 1.3% and British Airways, the third largest, slipped 3.7%.

Danish drugmaker H. Lundbeck tumbled 16% after the company and Takeda Pharmaceutical said they will delay submission of an experimental anti-depressant drug in the U.S. By 18 to 24 months until they have established the safety dose.

German retailer Arcandor plunged 44% after the company said it may file for insolvency as early as today if the government rejects its plea for assistance.

On the other hand, Swiss drugmaker Novartis rose 1.7% after the company said its Afinitor cancer medicine cut tumor size by 50% or more in a third of patients with lymphoma, in a mid-stage clinical trial.

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