European stocks were flirting with giving up some of the gains made earlier in the week, as lower commodity prices weigh on indexes and investors continue to keep a wary eye on bond yields and central banking policy.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 SXXP, +0.42% was up 0.1%, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX, +0.53% rose 0.3%. Both the CAC 40 PX1, +0.30% in Paris and Frankfurt’s DAX DAX, +0.28% were 0.1% higher. Stocks had a standout day on Monday, with the Stoxx 600 rising 1.8% amid a wider global rally.
European stocks opened lower to chase down Asian equities, which slid following a warning from China’s top banking regulator that stocks on Wall Street and elsewhere in the world look like bubbles that will eventually correct.
Lower commodity prices contributed to the weight on indexes, but were outbalanced as a wave of positive earnings reports added buoyancy to markets. The recent rise in bond yields, and concerns over central banking policies as the global economy turns to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, remained macro concerns.
European markets “are trading more cautiously this morning, slipping back initially in early trade, before edging into positive territory, as investors mull whether a change in tone from the Federal Reserve is forthcoming with respect to their recent ambivalence on the recent sharp rise in U.S. bond yields,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets.
“The main drags in early trade are in basic resources with lower oil prices pulling on the likes of BP and Royal Dutch Shell,” Hewson added.
Oil prices are lower, with benchmarks Brent crude BRN00, -0.20% and West Texas Intermediate WBS.1, -0.07% both down around 1%. Brent was trading around $63 a barrel while WTI held on above the $60 a barrel mark. Major European-listed oil stocks all fell, with shares in BP BP, -1.43%, Royal Dutch Shell RDSA, -1.23%, Total TOT, -1.12%, and Eni ENI, -1.09% slipping.
Gold GOLD, +1.61% and silver SI00, -0.91% are also in the spotlight, with silver down near 2%. Shares in metals and mining giants, which weigh heavily on the FTSE 100 index, fell in early trading. Polymetal International POLY, -0.73%, Fresnillo FRES, -0.16%, Glencore GLEN, -0.49%, Antofagasta ANTO, +0.57%, and Anglo American AAL, +0.03% were among the stocks making the biggest moves.
British house builder Taylor Wimpey TW, +2.10% was a standout riser in London trading, with shares up more than 2% following full-year results. The group will resume its dividend after a shaky year in which profits fell more than 67%.
Shares in Swiss confectioner Lindt & Sprüngli LISP, +3.86% were also sweet, up more than 2.5% after full-year results included an upbeat outlook. Organic sales melted away by 6% in 2020, but the chocolatier expects sales growth in the range of 6% to 8% in 2021.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo may face an import ban from the U.S., according to a report from Sky News, following a campaign highlighting allegations that the retailer used slave labor. The British company said it was confident in the actions it was taking to ensure that its products meet U.S. standards on forced labor. Shares in Boohoo BOO, -4.38% fell near 5%.