Europe’s STOXX 600 ends lower, halting record rally; energy stocks slide

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

November 18, 2021

By Anisha Sircar and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) -European shares ended lower on Thursday, weighed by weakness in commodity-related stocks amid declining oil and metal prices, and breaking a record-breaking six-day rally fuelled by strong earnings.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index dropped 0.5%, its first fall in seven sessions, with energy stock and miners dropping about 2% each.

Oil stocks were hit by plunging crude prices on worries of a supply overhang and the prospect of China moving to release strategic fuel reserves, while miners slipped as copper prices fell to their lowest in more than a month. [O/R] [MET/L]

European stocks started the day on stable footing, with Germany’s DAX, Switzerland’s SMI and France’s CAC 40 all touching record highs earlier in the session, but giving up those gains by the close.

Stronger-than-expected earnings season and accommodative monetary policy have helped drive the STOXX 600 to record highs recently. However, uncertainty has crept in about a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and the extent of lockdowns needed to curb the spread of the disease.

“Speculation over a Christmas lockdown in the UK does raise risks for stocks, but questions over how wide-reaching such measures would be does bring uncertainty over who the winners and losers would be in such an instance,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG.

Latest Refinitiv data shows profits of companies listed on the STOXX 600 are expected to rise 60.4% in the third quarter to 103.6 billion euros ($117.2 billion) from a year earlier, a dip from last week’s 60.7% estimate.

“The Eurozone has seen larger earnings upgrades than other regions, and we forecast 60% earnings growth this year,” analysts at Swiss bank UBS wrote in a note.

Daimler gained 1.7% after Berenberg initiated coverage on the German carmaker with a “buy”, saying it expects the recently spun-off Daimler Truck to bring higher returns.

Submarines-to-steel group Thyssenkrupp jumped 6.3% after it said profit could more than double next year and it may take its hydrogen unit public.

Playtech rose 3.9% after receiving a takeover bid from JKO Play Ltd, a firm co-owned by former F1 boss Eddie Jordan. JKO joins several takeover bids for the British online gambling software developer.

German auto supplier Continental fell 3.1% after it announced the departure of its chief financial officer following a probe into the illegal use of defeat devices in diesel engines.

(Reporting by Anisha Sircar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Bernadette Baum)