Europe close: Markets lower amid Trump unpredictability

Josh White Sharecast | 17 Feb, 2017 16:52 - Updated: 16:52 | | |

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17:50 23/05/17

European stocks were in the red on Friday, struggling for direction after US markets came off their highs in the previous session.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.09% to 369.76, Germany’s DAX fell 0.15% to 11,739.24 and France’s CAC 40 was 0.82% weaker to 4,859.04.

Meanwhile, oil prices retreated, with Brent crude last down 0.4% to $55.43 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate 0.58% lower at $53.05.

Following US president Donald Trump’s irregular press conference on Thursday, the country’s vice-president is due to attend the Munich Security Conference amid uncertainty about the continent’s relationship with the Trump administration.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said: “A rather un-presidential Washington press conference and continued cabinet nomination problems have added to political uncertainty on both sides of the Atlantic.

“This, coupled with weakness in the commodity space, is weighing on sentiment, taking the wind out of a Trump trade's sails before a long weekend - ironically after yesterday's little outburst - for president's day.”

On the data front, the eurozone current account surplus fell to €31bn in December from a revised €36.4bn a month earlier.

Over 2016 as a whole, the current account surplus rose to an all-time high of 3.4% of GDP, from 3.1% in 2015.

Eurozone construction output slipped 0.2% on the month in December compared to a 0.4% jump in November.

Building construction declined 0.5%, while civil engineering rose by 0.8%.

Meanwhile, year-on-year construction output was up 3.2%, with civil engineering rising by 6.5% and building construction by 2.5%.

In the EU-28 group of nations, construction output was up 0.6% on the month and 1.6% on the year.

In corporate news, AstraZeneca edged 2% higher after the pharmaceuticals giant reported positive results from its Phase III OLYMPIAD trial of its breast cancer treatment Lynparza (olaparib).

Segro gained 3.28% after its full-year earnings per share and net asset value came in ahead of analysts’ expectations.

Allianz was up 2.81% after the German insurer said on Thursday that it would hike its dividend and launch a €3bn share buyback programme.

Dutch oil and chemical storage firm Royal Vopak fell 7.13% after it said that earnings for 2017 will not exceed the results seen in 2016.

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