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
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.