Stocks - Europe Heads Lower; RBS, Renault, AstraZeneca Weigh

Stocks - Europe Heads Lower; RBS, Renault, AstraZeneca Weigh  | Feb 14, 2020 16:57

Stocks - Europe Heads Lower; RBS, Renault, AstraZeneca Weigh

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets pushed lower Friday, with early gains overturned by losses in index heavyweights RBS (LON:RBS), Renault (PA:RENA) and AstraZeneca (LON:AZN).

At 03:50 ET (0840 GMT), the U.K.'s FTSE index was trading 16 points, or 0.2%, lower, France's CAC 40 was down 11 points, also a 0.2% drop, while the DAX was largely flat. The pan-eurozone index, the Euro Stoxx 50 was down less than 0.1%.

Shares in British banking group RBS (LON:RBS) slumped 5% despite reporting earnings significantly above expectations early Friday, prompting it to announce a special dividend after group net profit soared to 4.2 billion pounds.

RBS (LON:RBS), which plans to change its name to NatWest as part of a “new era”, dialed down its returns expectations while also announcing restructuring costs and a 200 million pound regulatory hit.

Renault (PA:RENA) also suffered, its shares dropping 4% after the French car maker posted an annual loss of 141 million euros ($153 million) - its first in 10 years - cut its dividend and warned that auto demand remained volatile. This follows Nissan, in which Renault is a major shareholder, cutting its annual profit forecast and canceling its dividend for the second half of the year.

AstraZeneca shares (LON:AZN) dropped 1.5% after its core operating profit fell in the final quarter of the year, missing expectations. The British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant also warned of the impact on its business of the coronavirus outbreak.

German payments company Wirecard (DE:WDIG) meanwhile reiterated its guidance for core profits this year, implying growth of 34%, after notching another solid rise in earnings and revenue, despite the ongoing controversy over its accounting practices. Its shares dropped just 0.1%, outperforming the wider market.

News surrounding the Covid-19 virus outbreak continues to keep markets on edge, although officials tried to play down a big jump in China's count of patients and victims this week.

The World Health Organization said that reflects a decision by authorities there to reclassify a backlog of suspected cases by using patients' chest images, and is not necessarily the "tip of an iceberg" of a wider epidemic.

Still, doubts remain over the accuracy of these figures, with the White House calling on Beijing to be more transparent over its handling of the outbreak.

In economic news, fourth-quarter growth figures for the euro zone are scheduled for release at 5:00 AM ET (1000 GMT). The German release, earlier Friday, came in flat on the quarter, instead of the 0.1% gain expected, and doesn’t bode well for the broader number.

Elsewhere, the oil market traded in a calm fashion Friday, with all eyes on Russia to see whether it agrees to go along with the rest of the OPEC bloc and participate in deeper production cuts.

AT 3:45 AM ET (0845 GMT), U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $51.48 a barrel and the international benchmark Brent contract was up 0.1% at $56.39. Additionally, gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,578.65/oz while EUR/USD traded at $1.0838, just off the $1.0828 low seen over night, the lowest level since early 2017.

Related News

Latest comments

Add a Comment
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Write a reply...
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.

Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.

English (USA) English (UK) English (India) English (Canada) English (Australia) English (South Africa) English (Nigeria) Deutsch Español (España) Español (México) Français Italiano Nederlands Português (Portugal) Polski Português (Brasil) Русский Türkçe ‏العربية‏ Ελληνικά Svenska Suomi עברית 日本語 한국어 简体中文 繁體中文 Bahasa Indonesia Bahasa Melayu ไทย Tiếng Việt हिंदी
Sign out
Are you sure you want to sign out?
Saving Changes


Download the App

Get free real time quotes, charts and alerts on stocks, indices, currencies, commodities and bonds. Get free top of the line technical analysis/predictors. is better on the App!

More content, faster quotes and charts, and a smoother experience is available only on the App.