By Emily Horton
Europe’s markets were mostly lower Wednesday, as investors digested a range of geopolitical concerns, including an abrupt end to a summit between North Korea and the U.S., while earnings news dragged several big companies lower.
How are markets performing?
The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.10% lost 0.2% to 371.72 after finishing down 0.3% on Wednesday.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.08% was the region’s biggest decliner, falling 0.6% to 7,064.90. London markets continued to be held back by a strong pound, which was driven by a series of government announcements that could reduce the chance Britain could leave the EU with no deal. Since many FTSE 100 stocks earn substantial revenues outside the country, strength in the U.K. currency can hurt the index.
Spain’s IBEX 35 /zigman2/quotes/210597995/delayed XX:IBEX +0.94% rose 0.2% to 9,236.30, while Germany’s DAX /zigman2/quotes/210223310/composite DAX -0.85% and France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.0075% both lost around 0.1%, to 11,466.87 and 5,220.28 respectively.
Italy’s FTSE MIB index /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 +0.78% was the regions only major index gainer, adding 0.4% to 20,595.84.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.0638% remained strong at $1.3297. Meanwhile, the euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.0742% rose to $1.1409 from %1.1370 late in New York on Wednesday night.
What’s driving the markets?
In Vietnam, President Donald Trump said talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended without a deal after a disagreement over lifting sanctions on the communist country. The news triggered some losses in Asia, notably in South Korea.
On the data front, U.S. gross domestic product data slowed to a 2.6% annual pace in the fourth quarter, but beat forecasts for a 1.4% rise. That helped Europe stocks trim some losses, while data from Germany showed inflation edging up in February.
In Brexit news, U.K. politicians will be given an opportunity to push for a second referendum on the U.K’s membership of the European trading bloc, with the opposition Labour Party backing an amendment to file a parliamentary motion calling for a new referendum by March 12.
What stocks are active?
Zalando SE /zigman2/quotes/209028521/delayed DE:ZAL -2.98% led Europe’s top gainers jumping by 17%, after online-only fashion retailer said it met its 2018 targets on the back of double-digit revenue growth in the fourth quarter. French retailer Carrefour SA also jumped by 2% after it said it would raise its cost-cutting targets as part of a transformation plan.
Meanwhile, heavyweight Roll-Royce Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/203646520/delayed UK:RR +2.75% fell by 3% after the British manufacturer swung into a loss and announced it had withdrawn from a competition to power Boeing’s new plane, the Financial Times reported .
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA /zigman2/quotes/209225053/composite BUD +0.39% /zigman2/quotes/203831500/delayed BE:ABI +1.31% shot up nearly 5% after the beer giant reported a big fall in fourth-quarter net profit after booking several one-off charges. But the company said it would deliver strong sales and earnings growth in 2019.