LONDON (Reuters) – Planned new capital rules for European Union insurers have cut the value of European stocks by nearly 10 percent over the last three years, French insurer Axa said on Monday.

The Solvency II regime has prompted insurers to sell about 250 billion euros ($326.79 billion) of equities because shares attract a higher capital charge than bonds under the new rules, according to a study by Axa's fund management arm.

This selling pressure is responsible for about a quarter of the 33 percent fall in European stocks compared with Jan. 2007, their peak prior to the 2008 banking crisis, Axa said.

Insurers have redeployed some of the cash into corporate bonds, raising their price and contributing to a fall in their average yield.

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