European markets retreat amid Italian government uncertainty; Marks & Spencer up 2%


The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down nearly 1 percent during mid-morning deals, with almost all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

Italy’s FTSE MIB was the top faller among national indexes, down almost 2 percent as a sell-off in the country’s government bond resumed on Wednesday. Uncertainty over the creation of an anti-establishment government in Rome has prompted a more than 5 percent fall in the country’s benchmark index — on track for its worst month in nearly 2 years.

Meanwhile, Germany’s DAX index, which typically finds support amid currency weakness, slipped over 1.4 percent.

Europe’s basic resource stocks led the losses at around 10:30 a.m. London time, down almost 2.5 percent amid elevated tensions in trade talks. The European Union’s trade chief said Tuesday that the bloc’s efforts to persuade Washington not to impose tariffs on imports of EU steel and aluminum appeared to have failed.

President Donald Trump has granted EU producers an exemption from import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, depending on the outcome of talks. The exemption expires on June 1. Anglo American, Tullow Oil and ArcelorMittal were the worst performers in the sector, all down over 4 percent during mid-morning deals.

Looking at individual stocks, engineering firm Weir Group slumped toward the bottom of the European benchmark after Exane BNP Paribas slashed its stock recommendation to a “neutral” from an “outperform” on Wednesday morning. Shares of the company were 4 percent lower.

Britain’s Marks & Spencer surged towards the top of the index after it reported its latest figures on Wednesday. The 134-year-old company posted a second straight decline in annual profit and said it urgently had to modernize in order to not to risk fading away. Nonetheless, its shares rose over 2 percent higher as results were largely in line with expectations.



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