European stocks lower on North Korea tensions

Big 5

European stocks traded lower on Thursday morning as investors monitored new corporate earnings and geopolitical tensions surrounding North Korea.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was off by 0.6 percent with most sectors moving south. Basic resources stocks were the worst performers in mid-morning trade despite some buoyant earnings releases.

Glencore raised its earnings guidance, but its shares were down by 1.3 percent. The world’s biggest miner BHP said it will invest significantly in its nickel business as demand for electric vehicles picks up, Reuters reported. Its shares were slightly higher in mid-morning deals.

Thyssenkrupp reported better-than-expected third-quarter profits supported by an increase in steel prices. The stock rose 1.2 percent on Thursday morning.

Galapagos was at the top of the European benchmark, up by nearly 17 percent, following reports that a lung fibrosis drug passed a mid-stage study. Coca-Cola Hellenic was also 8.3 percent higher after announcing that it’s on track to reach broad-based revenue and margin growth forecasts for the full year.

Meanwhile, Adecco fell 5 percent after reporting declining growth in the U.K.

In other corporate news, the Italian lender Intesa Sanpaolo is to buy the Swiss private bank Banque Morval for an amount between 150 million to 200 million euros ($176 million to $235 million), Reuters reported.

Geopolitical fears remain the biggest focus after North Korea dismissed comments from President Donald Trump as a “load of nonsense” and said it was outlining plans for a missile strike near Guam, where the U.S. has a military base, in mid-August.

The flight-to-safety from global investors eased overnight, but it’s continuing during European trading hours. Furthermore, a raid into the home of Trump’s former 2016 campaign manager took place Wednesday, indicating that investigations into Russian interference in the election is escalating.

UK exports, French industrial output drop

Data out Thursday showed the U.K.’s trade deficit rising in June due to a fall in exports. The trade deficit went from £2 billion ($2.60 billion) in May to £4.56 billion ($5.92 billion) in June.

In France, industrial output contracted 1.1 percent on a monthly basis in June.

Source: CNBC