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European shares flat as U.S. job data boost fades

February 4, 2019 at 12:32pm

European shares were mixed on Monday morning as optimism fueled by a buoyant U.S. labour market and manufacturing faded, while a flurry of corporate news triggered sharp individual moves.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.02 percent at 0933 GMT and regional indexes got off to a choppy start.

Shares of Germany payment company Wirecard soared 12.8 percent after it said its law firm found no conclusive evidence of criminal misconduct. The Financial Times last week alleged financial wrongdoing at its Singapore office.

Iron ore pellet producer Ferrexpo dropped 8 percent after its auditors received statements from a charity containing “unexplained discrepancies”.

Denmark’s DSV fell 3.5 percent after its bid for Swiss freight forwarder Panalpina (off 8.3 percent) hit a road block when Panalpina’s top shareholder rejected the offer.

Shares in Pan-European stock market operator Euronext were up 1 percent up after it said it may sweeten its offer for Oslo Bors VPS as Nasdaq made a rival bid.

Julius Baer fell more about 5 percent after announcing cost cuts as profit missed expectations.

Ryanair shares were down 3.2 percent after the Irish budget airline reported a 20 million-euro ($22.9 million) loss in the third quarter. Citi analysts said they expected the market to focus on weak prospects for fare pricing and full-year guidance.

Rival EasyJet didn’t benefit from its rival’s loss and shed 2.5 percent.

Oil prices were at their highest so far this year as OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela’s petroleum industry tightened markets.

“The commodity price appreciation was bad news for fuel-hungry airlines”, commented Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Corporate news is set to intensify throughout the week with trading updates on Wednesday and Thursday, notably from BNP Paribas and ING among banks and Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for pharmaceuticals.

(Reuters)