By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
German stocks had a slippery hold on record territory Wednesday, as equities across Europe struggled to make gains amid lingering concerns over the spread of China’s coronavirus.
The German DAX 30 index (XEX:DX:DAX) pushed into record territory earlier in the day, rising to a high of 13,640.06, before turning flat to trade at 13,550.79. Bucking losses across Europe on Tuesday, the index rose 0.05% to finish just barely off a January 23, 2018 record close of 13,559.60. It’ll need another positive push to cement a fresh high on Wednesday.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index (STOXX:XX:SXXP) was flat at 423.60, after slipping 0.1% on Tuesday. The French CAC 40 index (PAR:FR:PX1) was also flat at 6,042.50, while the FTSE 100 index (FTSE:UK:UKX) slipped 0.3% to 7,590.49.
Investors are keeping a close eye on developments surrounding China’s coronavirus, which has killed nine people and infected hundreds, and as the U.S. reported its first case on Tuesday. Market jitters could return if the World Health Organization labels the virus a global health emergency after its meeting on Wednesday, raising fears of a pandemic that could slow economic growth.
U.S. stock futures indicated a positive start for Wall Street after coronavirus concerns helped drag benchmark indexes lower on Tuesday.
Among companies on the move, ASML Holding (AMS:NL:ASML) announced a higher profit for the fourth quarter of 2019 and a three-year share-buyback program of up to 6 billion euros ($6.66 billion). But the memory-chip maker’s first-quarter gross margin forecast was sharply below expectations, noted analysts at ING. Shares slipped 1.2%.
Shares of Daimler fell 1.7% after the automobile maker said earnings almost halved last year and said it would book additional expenses of up to 1.5 billion euros related to Mercedes-Benz’s diesel issue. “Bottom line: the balance sheet pressure clearly means risks to dividends and although not our base case this could necessitate a capital raise,” said Citi analysts in a note to clients.
Shares of Burberry Group (LON:UK:BRBY) fell 2.5%. In a trading statement, the luxury fashion retailer lifted its full-year revenue guidance after same-store sales rose 3% in the third quarter. But it said Asia Pacific sales rose by a low single-digit percentage as Hong Kong sales halved.
British multinational enterprise software company Sage Group (LON:UK:SGE) reported strong trading in the first quarter of fiscal 2020 and backed its fiscal year 2020 guidance. Shares jumped 4%.