Europe close: Stocks end on a mixed note amid trade jitters

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Wednesday 22 May 2019

Europe close: Stocks end on a mixed note amid trade jitters

(Sharecast News) - Stocks finished slightly lower as investors continued to monitor the headlines around the ongoing trade war between the US and China while keeping an eye on the news flow on Brexit.
Citing people familiar with the matter, overnight Bloomberg reported that the US was studying whether to blacklist more Chinese technology companies, barring their access to US-made components, due to concerns that their products would be used to repress the Uighur minority in China or for espionage.

In parallel, market watchers had picked up on comments by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, two days before, calling on the country's citizens to join a "new Long March", in reference to the Chinese Communist Army's successful retreat from annihilation during the country's civil war in 1934.

For some observers, Xi's remarks indicated that Beijing was gearing up for a protracted trade dispute.

By the end of trading, the benchmark Stoxx 600 had drifted 0.08% lower to 379.19, alongside an advance of 0.21% to 12,168.74 for the German Dax while the Cac-40 was still down by 0.12% to 5,378.98 at the close.

In parallel, sterling was down by 0.30% versus the euro to 1.1350 as analysts and traders marked up the odds they assigned to a hard Brexit, just one day after the Prime Minister had appeared to have left the door at lest partially open to the possibility of a second referendum.

"With calls for a new vote of no confidence highlighting the fightback that is already taking shape, Theresa May seems to have an impossible task as she aims to win over support for the deal," said IG's Josh Mahony.

"However, with Theresa May leaving, we see the chance of a no-deal Brexit rise, sending the pound lower."

No major economic data releases were scheduled for Wednesday.

However, in a speech in Frankfurt, European Central Bank chief, Mario Draghi, decried the impasse on completing a so-called 'banking union' in the Eurozone and on pursuing coordinated fiscal policies by the bloc's members.

US-China trade was also in focus in the corporate space after BT Group announced that it would not include Huawei smartphones in its product offering when it launched its 5G mobile network during the following week, pending more information.

Elsewhere, according to Bloomberg, Assicurazioni Generali as in talks to purchase US rival MetLife's assets in Central Europe as the Italian insurer sought to tap high-growth markets.

Manwhile, speaking at Commerzbank's AGM, the boss of Germany's second-largest lender said it was open to growing "inorganically".


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