By Emily Horton
Most European stock indexes on Thursday booked sharp losses, as weaker oil prices and a retreat following Wednesday’s stunning equity-market surge weighed on sentiment.
BP PLC and Siemens AG are among the biggest blue-chip movers.
How are the markets performing?
The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +1.65% fell by 1.7% to 329.58. The index finished 0.4% lower on Monday just before the markets closed for the Christmas break, a session that marked the weakest close since Nov. 8, 2016.
The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +1.22% slumped 2.4% to 10,381.51 and Italy’s FTSE MIB /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 +1.06% finished 1.8% lower to 18,064.62. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.95% ended 1.5% lower at 6,584.68, having finished 0.5% down on Christmas Eve.
Losses for France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.40% were less intense, as that index closed down 0.6% to 4,598.61.
As the dollar fell, the euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD -0.1450% climbed to $1.1389, compared with $1.1353 in New York late on Monday, while the British pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.2578% was largely unchanged at $1.2636 from $1.2632.
What is driving markets?
Dragging the DAX, the biggest decliner among European bourses, headlined Thursday’s pullback, as shares of industrial giant Siemens /zigman2/quotes/200873563/delayed DE:SIE +1.53% sank 2.4%.
Meanwhile, U.S. stocks fell Thursday, a day after a strong rally that reversed a battering for equities on Christmas Eve. Wednesday saw all three major indexes log the strongest one-day gains since March 23, 2009, on a percentage basis, and it was the best ever day-after-Christmas performance for the gauges.
A series of statements from senior White House aides that Trump wasn’t about to fire Jay Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve, was received well by the markets on Wednesday, with the Dow soaring about 1,086 points after an afternoon rally.
Oil, both crude oil and Brent futures dropped sharply, putting major oil companies under pressure.
Thursday marked the sixth day of the partial U.S. government shutdown, with neither President Trump or the Democrats showing signs of softening its stance over the funding for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
What stocks are active?
Nestlé SA /zigman2/quotes/210131093/delayed NSRGY -1.48% /zigman2/quotes/208115528/delayed CH:NESN -0.35% shares dropped 3.8%, while other heavyweights in the pharmaceutical sector — Novartis AG /zigman2/quotes/203286410/delayed CH:NOVN +2.63% /zigman2/quotes/203243705/lastsale NVS +0.67% and Roche Holding Ltd /zigman2/quotes/206324342/delayed CH:ROG +1.70% ended down by 2% and 3.2%, respectively.
Software and fashion sectors were in the green Thursday, with Sage Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/204528931/delayed UK:SGE -1.37% finished the session 3.5% lower, but luxury fashion house Burberry Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/205386705/delayed UK:BRBY +1.11% slipped 0.2%.
Among telecommunications companies, BT Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/209006687/delayed UK:BT.A -1.27% dropped by 2.6%, while U.K. satellite company Inmarsat PLC led the index’s decliners, with a 4.9% drop.