Investor Alert

Europe Markets

June 4, 2020, 10:03 a.m. EDT

Stocks in Europe slip ahead of ECB decision

By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

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People enjoy a drink on a terrace with plexiglass protective barriers on June 3, 2020, in Madrid, Spain. Spain has largely ended the lockdown it imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, which caused the deaths of more than 27,000 people across the country.

European stocks traded lower, with aggressive action from the European Central Bank not enough to keep equities higher after a strong run.

Having bounced 32% from the March lows, the Stoxx 600 (STOXX:XX:SXXP)  

The German DAX (XEX:DX:DAX)  , the French CAC 40 (PAR:FR:PX1)  and the U.K. FTSE 100 (FTSE:UK:UKX)  

The ECB opted to expand its pandemic emergency purchase program by €600 billion rather than the €500 billion consensus as it also said it would reinvest the proceeds of maturing securities and extended the expiration date of the program.

“The ECB delivered even more than expected both with the size of the add-on to the PEPP and the extension of the program to June 2021,” said Esty Dwek, head of market strategy at Natixis Investment Solutions.

“In our view, this is yet another step in support of more cooperation across Europe and can only be welcomed by markets. It should be good for risk assets, and should support the recent rally of European assets as they play catch up with the U.S.”

The ECB move did lower Italian bond yields (XTUP:BX:TMBMKIT-10Y)  even if the gain in stocks didn’t last.

French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (PAR:FR:MC)  shares slipped 1.5% after saying “on this occasion” it is not considering buying luxury retailer Tiffany  shares “on the market” after a board meeting. Women’s Wear Daily has reported that LVMH’s planned takeover of Tiffany was in jeopardy.

Spirits maker Rémy Cointreau (PAR:FR:RCO)  rallied 10% as the company said it expects a strong second half of the year and presented its longer-term goals that include an operating margin of 33% by 2030. Its fiscal year ending March profit slumped 29% on a 21% operating margin.

Lookers (LON:UK:LOOK)  shares rose nearly 9% as the U.K. and Ireland car dealership chain said it would cut up to 1,500 jobs. Separately, U.K. car sales plunged 89% in May, a trade group reported.

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