Sep 3, 2019

Europe I Europe Markets Closing Report: European stocks close lower as UK prepares for Brexit showdown; Sterling back above $1.20

Chloe Taylor, Elliot Smith

European stocks traded lower Tuesday afternoon but pared earlier losses following reports that the European Central Bank (ECB) could soon announce a broad stimulus package for the euro zone.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.17%, retail stocks each shedding 0.8% to lead losses as most sectors and major bourses traded in the red.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

FTSEFTSE 100FTSE7248.70-33.24-0.46388300174
Sterling broke below $1.20 on Tuesday morning amid Britain’s political uncertainty, sliding as low as $1.1967 to reach its lowest point against the greenback since the October 2016 flash crash. However, it recovered slightly to trade at $1.2036 by around 2:30 p.m. as rebel lawmakers applied for an emergency debate in parliament in the hope of thwarting a no-deal Brexit.
If the request is accepted by the House Speaker John Bercow, opposition lawmakers could have a vote on Tuesday evening to wrestle control of parliamentary business away from the government, which would be seen as a de facto confidence vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Brexit strategy. This could lead to an extension of the Brexit deadline until January 31, 2020.
Government officials on Monday said that Johnson would call for a snap general election on October 14 if a cross-party group of MPs (Members of Parliament), including some rebels from within Johnson’s own ruling Conservative Party, succeed with a legislative bill to block a no-deal departure.
In a speech outside 10 Downing Street on Monday, Johnson said hopes of a renewed withdrawal agreement had risen, but reiterated that Britain would not delay its exit from the bloc again.
Johnson would need the backing of two-thirds of the U.K.’s 650 MPs to trigger an election in the fall.
Stocks in the U.S. opened lower on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average sliding more than 1% as the U.S. and China began to impose new tariffs on one another’s goods.

ECB stimulus

Back in Europe, stocks pared losses after Reuters reported, citing sources, that ECB policymakers were leaning toward a stimulus package that consisted of a rate cut and compensation for lenders over the negative side effects of negative interest rates.
Euro zone lenders’ shares rose on the back of the report, with Germany’s Commerzbank and Italy’s Unicredit and Mediobanca among several banks to edge into positive territory.
Government bonds also rallied, with yields on Italian 10-year notes reaching a record low of 0.87%.
In corporate news, China has given Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas “type A” licences allowing them to serve as a lead underwriter for corporate debt issued by non-financial institutions, an industry body under the central bank said on Tuesday.
China has faced pressure to ease its restrictions on foreign banks which have hindered business expansion, and been subject to calls to open its markets further amid an escalating trade war with the U.S.
On the data front, U.K. construction PMI (purchasing managers’ index) data missed forecasts by 0.9 points, indicating further drags from political uncertainty. Meanwhile euro zone producer prices inched up in July after four months of decline, due to an increase in energy prices.

Stocks on the move

Shares of communications company SES fell 4.75% by early afternoon after it announced that CFO Andrew Browne would step down.
French telecoms operator Iliad suffered a 6% drop after first-half results showed it had lost 127,000 subscribers as rivals gained market share.
Danish hospital equipment maker Ambu climbed 6.5% by afternoon deals to top the European blue chip index.

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