European shares traded lower on Wednesday as trade tensions and growing worries about emerging market currencies cut investor appetite for risky assets.
At 0826 GMT, the pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.7 per cent, with losses spread across industry sectors and trading centers despite data showing that Euro zone business activity accelerated slightly in August.
A rare glimmer of optimism lifted Italy’s banks, buoyed by deputy Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Salvini saying that Rome would “try to be good” with respect to European Union budget rules.
Rating agency Scope also issued a note saying that while “volatile politics have reignited fears around Italian banks”, there has been progress on non-performing loans, reports Reuters.
Shares in UBI Banca, Banco BPM and Mediobanca were up by 3.2 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.
Corporate announcements also triggered strong swings, most notably in French pharmaceutical group BioMerieux which was the best performer on the STOXX 600 index, up by 8.3 per cent after better than expected first-half results and a raised 2018 outlook.
In the same sector, Bayer lost 2.0 per cent after reporting a disappointing 3.9 per cent gain in underlying core earnings for the quarter.
Overall, the European Healthcare sector was down 0.8 per cent.
Another French firm was also among the highest risers. Outdoor advertising group JCDecaux added 6.8 per cent after a rating upgrade by BofA Merrill.
British betting company William Hill jumped 4.5 per cent after it signed a 25-year sports-betting partnership with casino operator Eldorado Resorts, which investors see as a major step in its US expansion.
The biggest faller was Denmark’s Ambu whose shares sank 13 per cent after reports of a shareholder selling his stock at a discount.
Snuff and cigar maker Swedish Match fell 5.2 per cent after an institutional investor sold a stake of 4.3 million shares at a discount.
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