Europe close: Markets lower amid Trump unpredictability

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

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09:31 22/09/17

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.

More news

08:42 London open: Stocks edge lower on N Korea concerns as investors eye May speech

London stocks edged lower in early trade on Friday after North Korea reportedly threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific and as investors awaited a key speech by Prime Minister Theresa May.

08:12 Kim Jong-un tells Trump he will 'pay dearly' as sanctions stepped up

Kim Jong-un has responded to Donald Trump's recent threats where the latter said he would "totally destroy" North Korea if the US or its allies were attacked.

08:03 Smiths saved by sterling boost, 'well positioned' for return to growth

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07:51 Saga claims 'consistent growth' in first half

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07:37 Acacia Mining yields positive trial results, Saga reports consistent growth

London open

07:37 London pre-open: Stocks seen weaker on North Korea woes, ahead of May speech

London stocks were set for a weaker open on Friday, taking their cue from downbeat sessions in the US and Asia after North Korea reportedly threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

07:28 Acacia Mining shifts Buzwagi mine to gold bars to avoid export ban

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07:11 Friday newspaper round-up: North Korea, May's speech, SEC, HBOS

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Friday mocked Donald Trump as "mentally deranged" – and warned he will make the US president "pay dearly" for threatening the destruction of his country at the United Nations. Then hours later Ri Yong Ho, the North Korean foreign minister, raised the stakes suggesting Pyongyang could consider a hydrogen bomb test on the Pacific Ocean of an unprecedented scale. - Telegraph

00:01 US close: Markets end lower as investors digest Fed meeting, economic data

Stocks finished lower on Thursday, as traders tried to work out the implications of the US central bank's policy announcement on Wednesday, despite a raft of better-than-expected readings on the economy.