By Dave Morris
European markets were edging toward Friday’s session-closing figures as U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in the region for a U.K. visit, while firing trade-related salvos at Mexico and India.
How did markets perform?
The Stoxx 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -1.58% retreated 0.2% to 368.4. It fell 0.8% Friday.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -1.90% moved down 0.3% to 7,143 after declining 0.8% Friday.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.8832% climbed 0.2% to $1.2648 following Friday’s session when it edged up 0.1%.
In Germany, the DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -1.78% fell back 0.1% to 11,713.3. On Friday it sank 1.5%.
France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -1.46% dipped 0.2% to 5,200.8. It was down 0.8% Friday.
Italy’s FTSE MIB /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 -1.93% fell 0.2% to 18,767.3 after contracting 0.7% Friday.
What’s moving the markets?
A trip to the U.K. did not prompt U.S. President Trump to adopt a stiff upper lip when it comes to trade disputes with countries he believes have wronged America.
The President sent Twitter salvos Sunday at Mexico, setting a confrontational tone for the planned meeting Monday in Washington, D.C. between U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez.
Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration also removed India’s official designation as a developing nation, which affects the duty-free status of almost 2,000 products India exports to the U.S., while the New York Times said the administration also considered tariffs on imports of Australian goods before rejecting the idea.
In U.S.-China trade news, a Chinese government report on their trade dispute said it would not back down on “major issues of principle”.
A bruising performance in the European elections prompted Andrea Nahles, the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats and coalition partner to Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, to resign, which throws the future of the two parties’ coalition into doubt. The left-leaning Social Democrats lost significant ground to other progressive voices, notably the Green Party.
Data in Europe painted an underwhelming picture. Eurozone Markit Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) manufacturing figures for May came in as expected at 47.7, though the lack of surprise was by no means an indication that anyone was happy with the lackluster figure. In the U.K., the Markit CIPS Manufacturing PMI data for May missed expectations, registering at 49.4 versus a consensus figure of 52, and down from 53.1 in April.
A bright spot came from China, where Caixin PMI Manufacturing for May showed a mild expansion of 50.2 (figures over 50 indicate expansion), compared with economists’ expected figure of 50.
Which stocks are active?
Kier Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/209470443/delayed UK:KIE -6.28% shares plummeted a whopping 41.8% as the construction company issued a profit warning, saying it expected to report a net debt position when it gives full year figures on June 30. Costs from its so-called “future-proofing” program were cited.
Shares of Infineon Technologies AG /zigman2/quotes/204995926/delayed DE:IFX -3.08% sank 6.5% on news that the German semiconductor company would buy Cypress Semiconductor Corp. for an enterprise value of €9 billion. Infineon claimed that the deal would make the combined company the largest supplier of chips to the automotive market. The company is expected to pay for the transaction in part by raising capital, which prompted S&P to put Infineon’s BBB credit rating on negative watch.
NMC Health PLC surged ahead nearly 9% before falling back in early trading. It is up 2.9% above Friday’s close, following a week when the company reported higher earnings and revenue guidance.