European equities mark a pause

European equities mark a pause

LSE London Stock Exchange
Logo of the London Stock Exchange.

LONDON: Europe's major stock markets wobbled on Tuesday (Dec 5) as investors fretted over brewing Brexit uncertainty.

Frankfurt stocks dipped 0.08 per cent while Paris shed 0.3 per cent.

A weak pound helped shore up London's FTSE 100 index, which traded in the green for much of the day, but it closed 0.2 per cent lower.

Sterling remained under pressure one day after British and European negotiators failed to reach an agreement on Brexit.

A weak British unit boosts multi-nationals that earn in currencies other than the pound.

"The FTSE 100 was being assisted by the weakness in the pound, but now has slipped into the red," said David Madden, analyst at IG trading group, shortly before the close of trading.

"The London index is comprised of a lot of companies that rely heavily on international business, so the softness in sterling is boosting some of the companies that make up the FTSE 100."

The pound had initially rallied Monday on hopes that British Prime Minister Theresa May was close to a divorce deal with Brussels.

But talks collapsed after Arlene Foster, leader of the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), objected to May's position on the future of Northern Ireland's border with eurozone member Ireland.

"It was no deal but a lot of excitement during yesterday's European session, however ultimately it was disappointment yet again when it comes to Brexit, as optimism was quickly wiped out," noted AxiTrader analyst James Hughes.

The DUP, which props up May's minority government in London, told May in a phone call on Monday that they would not accept the agreement.

May is widely expected to return to Brussels on Wednesday or Thursday, with the EU warning that Sunday is the latest if she wants leaders to approve the opening of Brexit trade talks at a summit on Dec 14-15.


In Asian trading on Tuesday, a tech selloff continued with shares in giants Samsung and Tencent sliding sharply.

But tech shares rebounded on Wall Street on Tuesday, after the Nasdaq had tumbled more than one percent on Monday.

Madden said investors were buying back into tech stocks.

"The sector could stand to gain massively from the changes to the tax reforms as companies like Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft could bring offshore funds back to the US," he said.

The Dow, which scored a record close on Monday as investors welcomed news that the US Senate had finally passed controversial tax reforms, pushed higher in morning trade on Tuesday and struck another all-time high.

Key figures around 1630 GMT:

London - FTSE 100: 0.2 per cent at 7,327.50 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.08 per cent at 13,048.54 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 5,375.97 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.03 per cent at 3,575.05

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 per cent at 22,622.38 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.0 per cent at 28,842.80 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 per cent at 3,303.68 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at US$1.1828 from US$1.1865 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at US$1.3455 from US$1.3474

Dollar/yen: UP at 112.78 yen from 112.43 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 22 cents at US$62.67 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN five cents at US$57.42

Source: AFP/de