European Stocks Fall Over Political Concerns


European stocks edged lower on Wednesday due to growing concerns over the Brexit negotiations and as investors wait for the second round of the French presidential election on May 7.

Euro Stoxx 50 (STOXX50E) was down from 0.02 percent during the morning tradeto 0.08 percent to €3,575.

France’s CAC 40 (FCHI) slipped 0.2 percent to €5,289 while Germany’s DAX index (GDAXI) remained 0.1 percent down to €12,485.

Stock markets were on edge following France and Germany’s demand to raise Britain’s Brexit bill gross payment of up to €100 billion ($109 billion).

Investors are also staying cautious as French political rivals Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will battle each other in one last televised debate on Wednesday evening before Sunday’s voting.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) wraps up its two-day meeting on Wednesday and is likely to hold interest rates steady. The Fed was expected to release its monthly monetary policy decision later in the day.

The central bank was also set to hold interest rates with investors looking for any clues on the speed of future rate hikes.

Financial stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday with BNP Paribas SA (BNPP) gaining 0.3 percent to €66.00 and SocieteGenerale (SOGN) climbing 1.1 percent to €51.07. Germany’s Commerzbank AG O.N (CBKG) also rose 0.1 percent to €9.085.

Peripheral lenders also performed well, including Italy’s IntesaSanpaolo (ISP) getting 0.1 percent boost to €2.684 and UniCreditSpA (CRDI) increasing by 1.5 percent to €15.3500. Spain’s Banco Bilbao VizcayaArgentaria (BBVA) was up as well by 0.7 percent to €7.497.

German-based healthcare firm Frensenius SE & Co (FREG) added 2.9 percent to €77.720 to its shares after the company reported a 28 percent boost in net income for the first quarter and rise in sales of 19 percent.

Hugo Boss’ shares also fell 4 percent to €66.440 after reporting another loss in online sales by 27 percent in the first three months of the year even though total sales were up 1 percent to €651 million and net profit rising 25 percent to €48 million ($52 million).

Despite growing results in the financial sectors, London’s stocks were on the downside. FTSE 100lost 0.3 percent to £7,225 subsequent to supermarket J Sainsbury’s drop in shares of about 2.22 percent.The food retailer’s current stock price slipped 4 percent to £268.10 on Wednesday.

Mining stocks in the country were low as well. Glencore PLC (GLEN) dropped 3 percent to £288.45, Antofagasta (ANTO) also lost 3 percent to £777.50 and BHP Billiton (BLT) edged down by 3 percent as well to £1,131.50.

Financial sector was also performing poorly on Wednesday with Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) falling 0.3 percent to £68.98 and HSBC Holdings (HSBA) receiving a 0.1 percent decline to £639. Barclays (BARC) got a 0.3 percent cut to £209.10 while the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) fell 0.04 percent to £264.50.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) gained 1.1 percent to £4,161.

Shares of UK-based Company Dialog Semiconductor which provides power management systems for Apple Inc fell 3 percent to €41.8600 due to weak sales in its flagship iPhone missing average estimates in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the stocks in the US were also lower on Wednesday with Dow Jones 30 losing 0.08 percent to $20,849, S&P 500 was down 0.1 percent to $2,382 and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 0.2 percent to $5,623.

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