European Stock Markets are mixed Tuesday morning after early trading, a surprisingly strong performance in the light of Wall Street’s late reversal on Monday and the more sober tone in Asia after China lowered its growth targets for this year.
At 04:00 AM ET (0900 GMT), the benchmark Euro Stoxx 600 was up xx points, or 0.2x% at 375.78. While that’s only a whisker below the five-month high it hit on Monday, it’s still some 3% below the 2018 high that it hit in October. With Wall Street also struggling to rise beyond the October highs, it’s easy to see why some fund managers think the best of the year is already past.
Brexit is casting a shadow over U.K. stocks again, in particular, after the British Retail Consortium said U.K. retail spending rose only 0.5% on the year in February, down from a 2.2% increase in January.
“With consumers increasingly aware of the risk of a no deal Brexit, it is likely that uncertainty has driven this cautious approach to retail spending,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said in a statement.
Marks and Spencer (LON:MKS) and J Sainsbury (OTC:JSAIY) were both near the bottom of the FTSE 100 after early trading, while shares in fashion chain Debenhams (LON:DEB) – one of the most prominent victims of the carnage in retail stocks over the past two years – fell 12% after it abandoned its profit guidance for 2019 after saying gross sales fell 6% in the first 18 weeks of the year.
Elsewhere, German chemicals group EVONIK (DE:EVKN) soared after getting a better-than-expected price for its Plexiglas unit from private equity group Advent. Italy’s Moncler (MI:MONC) and Switzerland’s Richemont (SIX:CFR) fell as Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) analysts said their recent rally had gone far enough, while Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Spruengli (SIX:LISN), a maker of more affordable luxuries, also fell 1.9% despite a solid rise in 2019 profit and revenue, and a forecast of 5%-7% organic sales growth this year.
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