By Barbara Kollmeyer
European stocks mostly fell on Wednesday as oil prices dropped and investors weighed up a slowing of growth in China. U.S. equity futures were mixed as investors mulled dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +1.30% fell 0.3% to 459.30, the German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +1.89% dropped 0.6% and the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +1.73% slipped 0.3%, while the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.48% rose 0.1%. The pound fell 0.2% against the dollar to $1.3822 after after Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey told BusinessLive that he wouldn’t be pressured into any decision on raising interest rates, even amid rising inflation pressures.
Tugging on the downside was a drop in oil prices, with benchmark U.S. /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 +4.58% and Brent crude both down more than 1%, tracking Wednesday’s losses amid speculation that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have made progress toward a compromise on production levels. As well, oil was pressured by data showing a drop in U.S. gasoline demand.
Shares of heavily weighted energy stocks fell, with TotalEnergies /zigman2/quotes/206172043/delayed FR:TTE +3.47% , BP /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -0.84% /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +3.47% and Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/201538663/delayed NL:RDSA +3.21% /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A -0.97% and Repsol /zigman2/quotes/202941606/delayed ES:REP +3.79% stock all down between 1% and 2% each.
U.S. stock futures /zigman2/quotes/209948968/delayed ES00 +1.28% /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 +0.93% were mostly lower, with the exception of Nasdaq-100 futures /zigman2/quotes/210219788/delayed NQ00 +1.45% . Equities finished mostly higher and near record territory on Wednesday after Powell acknowledged sharp gains in inflation borne out by recent data, but indicated it was too soon to ratchet down support for the economy, in the first of two days of testimony on Capitol Hill.
Investors were also focused on China economic data, after growth slowed to 7.9% over a year earlier in the three months ending in June as a strong rebound from the coronavirus appeared to be normalizing. Asian stocks had a mixed session , with the Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.41% dropping 1.15%, but the China CSI 300 index /zigman2/quotes/210598128/delayed XX:000300 +0.24% rising 1.35%.
Economic data elsewhere showed payrolls rising in the U.K. in June for the seventh straight month. In the largest increase on record, companies added more than 356,000 employees for the period.
In corporate news, share of Spain’s Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy /zigman2/quotes/205820667/delayed ES:SGRE -3.19% slumped 14% after the renewable energy company said it now expects a fiscal 2021 loss as higher provisions led to a third-quarter operating loss.
The ripple effect saw shares of German energy group Siemens Energy /zigman2/quotes/221435471/delayed XE:ENR +1.02% drop 9% after the company said it expects to miss its margin guidance for the full fiscal year, after disappointment from its Spanish subsidiary.
As well, stock in wind energy equipment maker Vestas Wind Systems /zigman2/quotes/205019303/delayed DK:VWS -1.64% fell 6%.
A crop of travel stocks were also falling as investors continued to monitor the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19, now present in 111 countries. Spain’s Balearic Islands were moved to the U.K.’s amber kicked to the amber list on Wednesday, meaning from Monday, residents returning from the popular tourist spot must quarantine unless they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Shares of TUI /zigman2/quotes/207049334/delayed UK:TUI +4.12% , easyJet /zigman2/quotes/202825892/delayed UK:EZJ +6.87% , Aeroports de Paris /zigman2/quotes/203616065/delayed FR:ADP +2.47% were down around 3% each.