European shares failed to end Friday’s trading day on a positive note, closing slightly lower, as investors digested new trading updates and followed the moves seen in markets Stateside.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.29 percent by the close provisionally, off its session lows. On the week, the STOXX 600 closed sharply down, off 1.26 percent. The majority of sectors closed in the red, with positive sentiment capped by weakness seen in markets Stateside.
Major European bourses closed slightly lower, with the U.K.’s FTSE 100 ending down 0.08 percent, while France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX fell further, off 0.32 percent and 0.41 percent respectively.
Retail stocks were one of the worst performers Friday, ending down by 0.65 percent as a sector, after several rating updates. In particular, H&M fell 2.76 percent after a rating downgrade by SEB to a “sell” from a “hold”. And Inditex dropped 1.64 percent after Berenberg cut the stock to “sell” from “hold”. Analysts have raised concerns over the increasing competition from online shopping.
Meanwhile the utilities sector fell 1.37 percent, with United Utilities Group tumbling over 4 percent, after HSBC slashed its target price and rating on the stock.
On the other hand, media stocks were among the best performers on news of potential mergers. Sky rose 4.1 percent, making it one of the top performers in Europe, boosted by the news that Comcast, parent company of CNBC, and Verizon said they are interested in buying certain parts of 21st Century Fox.
Sticking with the sector, Vivendi jumped 4.4 percent, after a strong performance from the media group’s music arm UMG and Canal Plus division in its third-quarter results.
Looking at individual stocks, Bollore sped ahead, up 3.59 percent after a target price increase.
Shares of construction and support services provider Carillion sank by over 48 percent by the close, after it issued its third profit warning of the year. Shares had initially tanked as much as 60 percent at the start of today’s trade.
Meanwhile, shares of Elior slumped over 18 percent after a profit warning. The stock was at the bottom of the STOXX 600.
In other corporate news, Alitalia said Thursday that it has met with members of Lufthansa. According to Reuters, Alitalia said that media reports over a deal with Lufthansa were “groundless”.
Oil rose sharply by Europe’s close, with Brent trading at $62.41 per barrel, while WTI hovered at $56.35. This came after a turbulent week for prices in the energy market.
In terms of data, euro zone current account numbers showed a bigger surplus in September to 37.8 billion euros ($44.51 billion).
Market players were also digesting remarks by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. He told an audience in Frankfurt that the ECB needs to be patient when normalizing monetary policy. This is because despite the improved economic growth in the 19-member area, inflation remains subdued.
Switching focus to the U.S., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC Friday that he foresaw a Republican tax reform bill to be sent to Donald Trump by the end of the year.
Mnuchin’s comments come just a day after the House passed a bill aimed at overhauling the tax code. Concerns about tax reform continue to shake up sentiment on Wall Street, which has slightly impacted sentiment in Europe.
Meanwhile, Germany drags on with coalition talks as disagreements over climate, migration and finances remain between the three parties, Reuters reported.