Europe midday: Stocks slip ahead of ECB minutes

Alexander Bueso Sharecast | 17 Aug, 2017 11:57 | | |

cbdraghi69

Shares on the Continent were slightly lower as investors assessed the contents of a 'dovish' set of US central bank policy meeting minutes released overnight.

Against that backdrop, as of 1137 BST the benchmark Stoxx 600 was down by 0.13% or 0.50 points at 378.59, alongside losses of 0.10% or 11.87 points for Germany's Dax to 12,252.06 and a 0.15% or 7.79 point retreat in the Cac-40 to 5,168.82.

According to the Fed meeting minutes, "Many participants [...] saw some likelihood that inflation might remain below 2 percent for longer than they currently expected, and several indicated that the risks to the inflation outlook could be tilted to the downside."

The content of the minutes weighed on lenders' shares in particular, sending the Stoxx 600 gauge for the sector down by 0.76% to 184.77.

In parallel, the euro was under pressure, shedding 0.61% to 1.1696 ahead of the release of the minutes of the European Central Bank's own July meeting.

Some analysts had been hoping for clues regarding the possible timing of a small shift in ECB policymakers' guidance for the next step in slowly starting to wind down its asset purchase programme.

Yet an ECB-sources report from the day before indicating that chief Mario Draghi had no intention of signalling a change at the Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole Symposium the following week had quashed those hopes.

On the economic front, euro area consumer prices fell by 0.5% month-on-month in July and were ahead by 1.3% year-on-year, with the latter unchanged from the month before, according to Eurostat.

That was as expected by economists and in-line with a preliminary estimate.

At the 'core' level, CPI rose by 1.2% on the year, also as expected.

In a separate report, Eurostat revealed that the single currency bloc's trade surplus from €19.0bn for May to €22.3bn in June (consensus: €20.5bn) on the heels of a sharp drop in imports.

Meanwhile, in France the unemployment rate declined by a tenth of a percentage point in the second quarter to reach 9.2%, according to INSEE.

Shares in German construction outfit Geberit AG were near the bottom of the pile on the Stoxx 600 after underwhelming investors with its second quarter figures.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals tanked after lowering guidance for its generics business.

Dutch insurer NN Group posted a 26% jump in second quarter profits to reach €404m, following its merger with Delta Lloyd.

Air Berlin was edging higher following a report that it was talking to three aviation firms in order to find a possible buyer for its assets.

More news

20 Sep US close: Dow, S & P 500 close at session highs as Fed starts QE taper

The Dow Industrials and S & P 500 ended slightly higher even as the US Federal Reserve announced the historic end to its balance sheet expansion, although the Nasdaq was held back by losses in shares of Apple.

20 Sep Results round-up

Kingfisher posted better profits than were expected for the first half of the year but the do-it-yourself retailer remained cautious on the second half backdrop in the UK and France.

20 Sep Broker tips: Nostrum Oil & Gas, Stagecoach, BAE Systems

RBC Capital Markets upgraded Nostrum Oil & Gas to 'outperform' from 'sector perform' saying recent weakness is an opportunity and its discount to peers it set to unwind as it delivers operational milestones.

20 Sep Fortum and E.ON in 'advanced talks' for sale of Uniper stake

Finnish firm Fortum announced on Wednesday that it was in advanced talks with E.ON over the potential €3.76bn purchase of German energy company Uniper.

20 Sep Federal Reserve to start taper in October, nudges rate forecast lower

America's central bank has stuck to script - or almost - announcing it will begin to taper the size of its balance sheet next month while keeping the target for its main policy interest rate unchanged at between 1.0% and 1.25%.

20 Sep Europe close: Spanish stocks underperform

European stocks ended the session little changed amid moderate selling pressure on Spanish stocks on the back of the latest news around the attempted independence referendum in Catalonia and ahead of the US Federal Reserve's policy decision later in the session.

20 Sep Apple discovers issues in new smartwatch 48 hours before shipping

Tech juggernaut Apple announced on Wednesday that its new Series 3 smartwatches had been experiencing significant connectivity issues just days before they were due to be shipped.

20 Sep London close: Strength in Sterling puts a lid on stocks

London stocks traded fairly flat on Wednesday as the pound popped higher on the back of stronger than expected retail sales data, even as traders waited on the US Federal Reserve's policy announcement later in the day.

20 Sep Thursday preview: Capita guidance and UK public sector debt under spotlight

Thursday in Europe will initially see any fallout from the US policy adjustments overnight, while in the UK Capita and Mitchells & Butlers investors have results to pore over, with an update on the public deficit later in the morning.

20 Sep Bed Bath and Beyond fails to meet expectations again

Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY) shares suffered after the New Jersey-based home goods retailer fell short of market expectations yet again.