By Emily Horton
Europe’s markets were mixed on Thursday, struggling against a myriad of headwinds including weak economic data and earnings.
A batch of earnings data also drove action for a number of stocks, and leaned on some indexes.
How are markets performing?
The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.23% lost 0.2% to 370.75 on Thursday, after finishing up 0.7% on Wednesday.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.10% led the region’s top decliners falling 0.9% to 7,180.85, pulled down by poorly received results from U.K. heavyweights Centrica PLC /zigman2/quotes/205228367/delayed UK:CNA +0.08% and BAE Systems PLC
Italy’s FTSE MIB index /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 +0.27% was next, dropping by 0.3% to 20,247.76, while France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.30% remained flat at 5,194.58.
The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD -0.0634% remained flat on Thursday, at $1.1334, while the pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.2076% climbed to $1.3066 from $1.3052 late in New York on Wednesday.
What’s driving the markets?
Business surveys released Thursday showed the eurozone’s manufacturing sector entered its first downturn since mid-2013, led by Germany. A batch of U.S. data was also released, which included weak durable goods orders and the Philly Fed manufacturing index that slid into negative territory.
Investors were reviewing a mixed bag of signals on Thursday, from fresh optimism over a trade truce between the U.S. and China, to minutes from the Federal Reserve that indicated a slightly higher chance of a rate increase this year than investors had anticipated.
What stocks are active?
Centrica PLC /zigman2/quotes/205228367/delayed UK:CNA +0.08% slumped by 12%, after the FTSE 100 energy company warned it will struggle to reach cash flow targets in 2019 owing to exceptional charges. Although the company met its target for 2018, chief executive Iain Conn warned 2019 would be a challenge.
A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S /zigman2/quotes/202892434/delayed DK:MAERSK.B +0.13% fell by 7%, after its fourth quarter profit missed expectations, a drop chief executive Soren Skou put down to “a challenging start to 2018”. The world’s largest container shipping company acts as a global gauge for trade, at a time when the U.S. and China trade negotiations are on going.
Shares of U.K. defence company BAE Systems PLC dropped by 7%, despite reporting a 14% profit increase, after the weapons maker said that Germany’s band on selling arms to Saudi Arabia could prove “difficult” for the company in the long run, City AM reported .
Barclays PLC /zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed UK:BARC +1.00% , whose profits rose by a quarter in 2018, added 0.4%. The U.K. bank booked group pre-tax profits of £3.49 billion last year, while revenues were flat. Analysts at Jefferies described the figures as “a bit dull but possibly good enough.”