European stocks tilt lower after strong week, as traders search for cues – MarketWatch

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European stocks struggled to make headway Monday, after the regional market logged its best week in more than a year following the recent selloff.

Traders were searching for a catalyst on what is expected to be a quiet day, with equity markets in the U.S. and China closed for holidays.

Falls in shares of German auto maker Daimler AG and consumer products heavyweight Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC dragged on the pan-European index.

How markets are moving

The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.15% shed 0.1% to 380.19, losing its grip on a small gain logged in early trade. The consumer goods sector lost the most, while the financial group led advancing sectors.

The regional benchmark last week leapt 3.3%, to notch its best week since December 2016, according to FactSet data.

On Monday, Germany’s DAX 30 index DAX, -0.08%  turned lower by 2 points to 12,449.34, and France’s CAC 40 PX1, -0.09% fell 0.1% to 5,273.59.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, -0.09% lost 0.1% to reach 7,286.38, but Spain’s IBEX 35 IBEX, +0.10% moved up 0.2% to 9,852.30.

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The euro EURUSD, +0.1209%  bought $1.2412, little changed from $1.2409 late Friday in New York.

In the fixed-income market, the yield on the 10-year German bund TMBMKDE-10Y, +3.35% rose 2 basis points to 0.727%, according to Tradeweb. Yields fall when prices rise.

What’s driving markets

European stocks were giving back some of Friday’s advance, which keyed off moves on Wall Street, although the Dow DJIA, +0.08%   and S&P 500 SPX, +0.04%  eventually closed off session highs and the Nasdaq COMP, -0.23%  turned lower.

Analysts have said volumes for European markets will likely be lower than usual on Monday, with U.S. markets closed for the Presidents Day Holiday.

Read: Which markets are closed on Presidents Day?

Global equities last week rebounded from a meltdown earlier this month that yanked the S&P 500 and other major benchmarks from record highs.

What strategists are saying

“Stock markets in Europe are mixed this morning as a lack of a major macro-economic news has left some traders uninspired,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note.

“Chinese markets were close overnight as the country celebrated Spring Festival, and the U.S. and Canadian stock markets will be closed today as they celebrate Presidents Day and Family Day, respectively. When a number of major players on the markets are closed due to holidays, it is common to see low volatility on those exchanges that are open,” he said.

“The ECB’s monetary policy meeting accounts are due on Thursday, something which will give us an idea if the ECB is going to end their tapering program as per the plan,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets.

“It won’t be long before the market participant would expect the ECB to start talking about the increase in the interest rate. Such an event would be highly bullish for the euro traders,” Aslam said in a note.

Stock movers

Reckitt Benckiser Group RB., -6.20%  sank 6.3% as the maker of Lysol, Clearasil and other consumer-goods products posted flat like-for-like 2017 sales, although that was line with guidance that was revised downward over the course of the year.

Daimler DAI, -2.10%  shares fell 1.9% after German weekly Bild reported Sunday that the car maker may have used software to help some of its vehicles pass U.S. diesel-emissions tests. Bild cited internal documents from U.S. investigators.

The financial sector was led higher by bank stocks, pushing the Stoxx 600 Bank FX7, +0.30%  up 0.3%. That index was looking at a fourth session of gains, with shares of lenders gaining alongside rises in global bond yields.

Monday’s gainers included Deutsche Bank AG DBK, +1.96%  and UBS Group AG UBSG, +0.53%   , up 1.7% and 0.5%, respectively.