With the open of US markets, the pan-European Stoxx 600 and the blue-chip Euro Stoxx 50 were both trading lower by 0.1% and 0.2% on the day with major blue-chip benchmarks in Europe giving a mixed picture.
The FTSE 100 was the brightest spot in terms of performance among main European blue-chip Indices. The closely-watched benchmark was up by 0.3%, reaching its highest since early June at one point during today’s trading. FTSE constituents’ revenues are to a significant extent derived from overseas markets and they consequently tend to benefit whenever the British currency declines. Sterling today fell considerably relative to majors including the dollar and the euro after Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit, said talks with Britain were at an “impasse”, having specifically in mind that Britain is not ready to specify how much it should pay the EU when it exits the union. Barnier’s British counterpart, David Davis, did make reference to progress though, specifically on the area of citizens’ rights which brought the two parties “even closer to a deal”.
The German DAX was unchanged and the French CAC 40 traded lower by 0.2%. Spain’s IBEX 35, which was in focus due to tensions over Catalonia’s bid for independence, was lower by 0.2% after posting sizable gains the day before. The Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy yesterday gave the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont a five-day ultimatum to clarify whether he formally declared Catalonia’s independence. It could be said that a rekindling of tensions in the region is not to be ruled out. It should also be mentioned though, that according to analysts at Deutsche Bank “the tail-risk of a Spanish break-up” is reduced with Spanish equities “likely to outperform the European market over the coming months.”
Just Eat was performing strongly to render itself one of the best performing stocks within the Stoxx 600 after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gave its preliminary approval in relation to the online food order firm’s proposed takeover of Hungryhouse. Just Eat was last up by 4.8% on the day, hitting an all-time high at its peak.
Lufthansa (up 3.3%) and Volkswagen (up 0.7%) made the top-10 list of the DAX’s lead gainers, with the former sitting on top of the list. The airline said it would sign a deal later today in relation to purchasing parts of the insolvent Air Berlin. Volkswagen was upgraded to “outperform” from “market-perform” from Bernstein. The broker also revised the automaker’s target price to 180 euros from 150. Volkswagen last traded at 143.25 euros. Porsche (up 5.3%), Volkswagen’s majority shareholder, was the Stoxx 600’s biggest outperformer.
EasyJet, which also expressed interest to purchase parts of Air Berlin, was up by 2.0%, making itself one of the biggest gainers within the FTSE 100.
In other M&A news, wholesaler operator Booker Group was up by 0.2% after it said its takeover by Tesco (down 0.7%) is expected to be completed by early 2018.
The Swiss-based pharmaceuticals company Novartis (up 0.2%) decided not to sell its stake in Roche (down 0.4%), the Swiss healthcare company.
Danish-based Dong Energy (down 4.6%) was the Stoxx 600’s worst underperformer after New Energy Investment decided to divest a significant stake in the company.
Quarterly results by JPMorgan and Citigroup beat analysts’ expectations but failed to excite markets. In addition, they both reported steep falls in trading revenues. Bank of America and Wells Fargo will be releasing their quarterly results tomorrow.