European markets close mixed ahead of Trump’s inauguration

European markets closed flat as investors cautiously awaited the inauguration of soon-to-be U.S. President Donald Trump.

The European STOXX 600 ended 0.07 percent lower with sectors and bourses mixed on Friday.

Investors seemed to be taking a guarded approach as they wait for clarity on what the new U.S. administration will do.

Basic resources were down by more than 0.16 percent on a stronger dollar while autos and health care also moved lower.

Retail stocks ended down following news that British retailers registered their biggest drop in more than four years last month.

Volumes dropped by 1.9 percent month-on-month. Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s fell more than 1.9 percent.

In the corporate world, another French company is trying to get into the Italian market. The luxury goods group LVMH is to buy up to 10 percent of eyewear group Marcolin. Its shares rose slightly on Friday.

Edenred was one of Friday’s worst performers, down by more than 1.5 percent. According to Reuters, Colony’s Colday E, the main shareholder, sold its stake in the company for 500 million euros ($533 million).

Royal Mail shares, which were at the bottom of the European index in the previous session, fell more than 2 percent on Friday.

Shares of Amec engineering company were up by more than 4.8 percent after Societe Generale upgraded it from hold to buy.

On Wall Street, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 continued slightly higher as investors turned their attention to Trump’s inauguration.

President-elect Trump is expected to take the oath of office at about 5 p.m. London time.

Meanwhile, the markets have digested news from the European Central Bank, which said on Thursday that it would keep its loose monetary policy stance for as long as it’s necessary.

Despite some positive inflation data, the central bank is still far from reaching its 2 percent target.

Oil stocks led the gains on Friday as investors expect producers to confirm compliance with an output cut deal during a meeting this weekend.

Brent crude was up 2.55 percent as the European session closed and was trading around $55.54 a barrel while WTI rose 2.43 percent to $52.62 a barrel.

It is the last day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Source: CNBC