European Equity Benchmarks Close Mixed; Auto Stocks Slump While Banks Surge

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The broad-based major European markets closed mixed on Wednesday, as automotive stocks slumped, while banks surged.

In economic news, the U.K. has a 50% chance of falling into recession within the next 18 months because of the Brexit vote, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

The U.K. business activity in the service sector fell in July, according to the latest PMI Survey data from IHS Markit and CIPS. Output and new business both declined for the first time since 2013, and at the fastest rates since early-2009.

"The PMI is already deep into territory which would normally spur the Bank of England into taking action to stimulate the economy," said Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist . "A quarter-point cut in interest rates therefore seems to be a foregone conclusion at tomorrow's Monetary Policy Committee meeting."

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, meanwhile said that in June, the volume of retail trade remained stable in the euro area (EA19) compared to May, and declined 0.2% in the EU28. In May the retail trade volume increased 0.4% in both zones. In June, compared with June 2015, the retail sales index increased 1.6% in the euro area and 2.4% in the EU28.

In equities, banking stocks had a strong showing on the FTSE in London, led by HSBC and Standard Chartered higher 4.5% and 4.2%, respectively. Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays closed 2.6% and 1.6% higher. But it was not enough to keep the index in positive territory, as slumping homebuilder stocks Persimmon, Berkeley Group, and Taylor Wimpey lost 2.7%, 2.4%, and 1.9%, respectively.

In Frankfurt, Deutsche Post led the DAX into positive territory rising 3.2%, followed by industrial gas giant Linde, which closed 1.7% higher. Utilities company RWE gained 1%, while automaker Daimler and industrial conglomerate Siemens rose 0.8% and 0.7% each.

And in Paris, slumping automotive stocks burdened the CAC, as car makers Peugeot and Renault lost 1.7% and 1.2% respectively. Banking stocks performed well, with Societe Generale and BNP Paribas climbing 3.2% and 0.6%, respectively. Oil services company Technip and building materials company LafargeHolcim moved up 2.1% and 1.6%, respectively.

The FTSE lost 0.17%, the DAX rose 0.26%, and the CAC-40 declined 0.16%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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