By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
European stocks declined on Tuesday ahead of key central bank and trade meetings, with shares of France’s nuclear jewel touching a two-year low after revealing trouble at a subsidiary.
Shares of Electricite de France /zigman2/quotes/201783867/delayed FR:EDF -0.92% dropped 6% after saying its majority-owned nuclear reactor construction firm Framatome had found anomalies in manufacturing parts. The faults concern both in-service components as well as new components which have not yet been installed on any sites. EdF owns more than 75% of Framatome, and 5% owner Assystem /zigman2/quotes/204084164/delayed FR:ASY +0.86% dipped 0.8%.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.10% fell 0.58% to 383.83.
The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.12% declined 0.32% to 12186.37, the French CAC 40 declined 0.59% to 5555.92 and the U.K. FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.20% dropped 0.39% to 7207.74.
Attention started to drift to key meetings of the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve, as well as October trade talks between the U.S. and China.
The ECB meeting comes first with expectations of further easing to boost the struggling eurozone economy on Thursday.
Economists at BNP Paribas expect a 10 basis point reduction in the deposit rate, rate tiering, strengthening of forward guidance, a relaxing of refinancing operations and further bond purchases, though they said the ECB might not go that far, for instance by saying the bond purchases could be announced in December when Christine Lagarde takes over as president.
“While we have little doubt about the economic case for the ECB to announce a resumption of QE this year – if not September, then in December – the precise timing depends on Governing Council dynamics,” they said.
Other movers included JD Sports Fashion /zigman2/quotes/207007202/delayed UK:JD +0.18% , which rallied nearly 7% in London as the sporting-goods retailer reported a 37% increase in first-half comparable EBITDA to £235.2 million, with revenue rising by 47% to £2.72 billion. The company said without the impact of the transition to a new accounting standard, it would have been on track to report pretax profits at the top end of market expectations, but will now deliver results at the mid-point of expectations.