Forex Pros – European stock markets declined on Thursday, as shares in the financial sector led losses ahead of the results of the Irish banks’ stress tests, while U.S. futures indexes pointed to a mixed open on Wall Street.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 shed 0.45%, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.4%, while Germany’s DAX 30 eased down 0.1%.
The Irish Independent Newspaper said that the country’s government was expected to announce plans to pump at least another EUR20 billion into the country’s banks, in a move that could see the entire Irish banking system come under state control.
Shares in Europe’s largest financial service provider BNP Paribas dropped 1.9%, Italy’s biggest bank Unicredit saw shares tumble 3.4%, while Banco Santander sank 1.6%. Trading of Irish banking stocks was suspended until after the announcement of the stress test results, due later in the day.
Meanwhile, Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer H&M saw shares plunge 4% after it posted a 30% drop in fourth quarter net profit to EUR291.5 million. Revenue in the quarter fell by 1% to EUR2.74 billion, as soaring cotton prices hit margins.
Earlier in the day, preliminary data showed that consumer price inflation in the euro zone rose unexpectedly in March, climbing to 2.6%. Separate data showed that Germany’s unemployment rate fell for the second consecutive month in March, declining to 7.1%.
In London, the FTSE 100 added 0.1% boosted by gains in miners. BHP Billiton saw shares climb 1.5%, Vedanta Resources added 1.8%, while gold producer Randgold Resources saw shares rally 4% after lifting its current quarter earnings outlook.
Meanwhile, shares in chip maker ARM Holdings gained 1.25% after Bank of America recommended buying the stock. “The stock has pulled back 15% since the end of February, which we believe creates a buying opportunity,” the lender said in a report.
Also Thursday, Taylor Wimpey, the U.K.’s second largest homebuilder, saw shares jump 3.3% after it agreed to sell its North American unit to private equity group TMM Holdings Limited Partnership for approximately USD955 million.
The outlook for U.S. equity markets, meanwhile, was mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a modest gain of 0.05%, S&P 500 futures indicated decline of 0.03%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.1%.
Later Thursday, the U.S. was to publish a government report on initial jobless claims as well as a report on factory orders and manufacturing activity in the Chicago-area.
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