(Sharecast News) – European stocks were mostly lower on Thursday as mixed corporate earnings and a lack of economic data prompted a risk-off approach to trading in the wake of big gains over recent sessions.
The Stoxx 600 was down 0.4% at 452.76 by lunchtime, with both the FTSE 100 and Cac 40 down 0.5%, the FTSE MIB up 0.1% and the Dax and Ibex up 0.3 % and 0.4%, respectively. US stock futures were also slipping ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street.
The Stoxx 600 index had risen by 2.5% over the past three days, tracking global markets higher on the back of sharp drops in inflation in the UK and US, with sentiment helped by improving data from China and hopes of further stimulus for the country’s struggling housing sector.
“Market optimism appears to be cooling off after a bumper period of gains for equity markets, built on growing expectations that the Fed are finished with their historic tightening process,” said analyst Joshua Mahony at Scope Markets.
“With markets now pricing a mere 1% chance of another hike, markets are now more concerned with the timing of the first rate cut and the pace of easing.”
The economic data calendar for Thursday looked relatively light, with no major releases due in the UK and eurozone, and only jobless claims scheduled in the US. However, several central bank policymakers are scheduled to make speeches, including members of the ECB, Fed and BoE, and so markets will keep a close eye on any comments to do with future monetary policy.
Investors shrug off slowdown at Siemens
Shares in Siemens AG surged over 5% in Frankfurt after the German tech and industrial conglomerate exceeded analysts’ forecasts with a record fourth quarter, with investors shrugging off predictions of a slowdown in the coming 12 months.
For the full fiscal year, comparable revenues rose 11%, at the upper end of Siemens’ raised guidance, to €77.8bn. Looking ahead, Siemens is pointing a just 4-8% growth in comparable revenues, net of currency translation and portfolio changes. However, that’s still above the 3.7% forecast growth expected by analysts.
In London, Burberry dropped 10% after the British high-end fashion giant warned that the slowdown in luxury demand is having an impact on current trading and could affect full-year sales, as it reported a huge deceleration in sales growth in the first half. Comparable store sales rose 10% in the six-month period, with 18% growth in the first quarter slowing to just 1% in the second.
European sector peers LVMH, Prada, Hermes and Kering were also firmly lower.
German meal-kit group HelloFresh plunged over 20% after a profit warning following worse-than-expected sales growth in North America.