By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
European stock market trading was mixed on Wednesday, subdued by disappointing reaction to bank-sector results, but balanced by gains for autos after Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed merger discussions.
Investors were also hesitant ahead of a decision from the Federal Open Market Committee.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -1.20% slipped 0.1% to 397.94, after halting a six-session winning streak on Tuesday and closing down 0.15% to 398.37.
The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210223310/composite DAX -0.92% declined 0.2% to 12906.09, the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -1.58% was up 0.1% at 5735.56 and the U.K. FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -1.55% fell 0.2% to 7289.15.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.02% retreated from a record high on Tuesday after an earnings miss from Alphabet /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -0.79% parent Google. Results from Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -0.09% and Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -0.02% are due after the close. Ahead of that, the market is waiting on a policy decision from the Federal Reserve, with expectations of a third straight interest-rate cut.
On the data front, there was fresh evidence a slowdown in Germany is hitting the labor market. Jobless claims rose by 6,000 in October, after a revised fall of 9,000 in September, the German Federal Employment Agency said on Wednesday.
Among the big movers in Europe, shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles /zigman2/quotes/209202731/delayed IT:FCA -0.72% jumped 7.8% and those of Peugeot /zigman2/quotes/203546414/delayed FR:UG -1.34% surged 6% after the auto makers confirmed they were in discussions over a merger that could create a roughly $46 billion trans-Atlantic auto giant.
Fiat was exploring a merger with Renault /zigman2/quotes/200919924/delayed FR:RNO -0.57% , whose shares fell 2%, just a few months ago, but the deal collapsed after an intervention from the French government.
“Given that the French government also holds a major stake in Peugeot, of 14%, it is hard not to see that this attempt by Fiat might well go the same way as the failed Renault attempt earlier this year,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, told clients in a note.
Banks were active, with Deutsche Bank /zigman2/quotes/203042512/composite DB -0.31% /zigman2/quotes/205584254/delayed DE:DBK -0.37% shares near the top of the decliners list, with a drop of nearly 6% after the German lender reported its second consecutive quarterly loss, as it continues to carry out a deep restructuring.
Shares of Credit Suisse /zigman2/quotes/205269278/delayed CH:CSGN -0.33% /zigman2/quotes/202835784/composite CS -0.26% fell 3% after the Swiss bank said third-quarter net profit more than doubled, beating expectations. But it also warned of a seasonal slowdown in the final quarter of the year.
Also weaker was Santander /zigman2/quotes/205677933/delayed ES:SAN -1.05% /zigman2/quotes/202859081/composite SAN -1.32% , with shares down 2% after the Spanish lender reported a sharp profit fall due to a $1.65 billion charge related to its U.K. business.
Other shares on the move included Nestlé /zigman2/quotes/210131093/delayed NSRGY -0.32% /zigman2/quotes/208115528/delayed CH:NESN -0.35% , up 1% after Bloomberg News reported the food group may consider selling controlling stakes in two underperforming Chinese units for more than $1 billion. A spokesman for Nestlé declined to comment to Bloomberg.