European shares flat as tech, healthcare losses offset gains in mining, travel By StuffsEarth

Estimated read time 9 min read

By Shashwat Chauhan and Jesus Calero

(StuffsEarth) -European shares were flat in lacklustre trade on Wednesday as losses in heavyweight healthcare and technology stocks undercut gains in mining and travel shares, while British shares lagged following the release of inflation data.

The pan-European held steady at 514.67 points as of 0831 GMT, with healthcare among the biggest drags with a 0.3% decline, while technology lost 0.4%.

UK’s shed 0.2% after data showed British inflation returned to its 2% target in May for the first time in nearly three years, but underlying price pressures remained strong, meaning the Bank of England is likely to wait longer before cutting interest rates.

“Services inflation remains high, so core CPI is falling more slowly than the headline rate of inflation, and inflation may actually rise again later this year – so the path ahead is not straightforward,” Shaun Port, managing director for savings at Chase UK said.

Market focus will now shift to interest rate decisions from central banks in England, Norway and Switzerland later this week.

European shares saw sharp losses last week after French President Emmanuel Macron called for a snap election following a trouncing of his ruling centrist party in the European Parliament elections.

Latest polls suggest Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party is seen leading the first round of the parliamentary election.

“I think she (Le Pen) realizes that she has to get the support of the bond markets and hopefully the stock market … she is calling for less of strain and how to sound more business friendly as well,” Janet Mui, head of market analysis at RBC Brewin Dolphin (OTC:) said.

Helping limit losses on the benchmark, travel and leisure gained 0.7%, boosted by Accor (EPA:), which rose 2.7% after Barclays upgraded the hotel group’s rating to “overweight” from “equal weight”.

Basic resources added 0.8%, tracking a rebound in metal prices, while heavyweight oil and gas shares rose 0.3%.

Among other stocks, SMA Solar Technology AG dropped 30.5% after the German solar power parts supplier cut its profit guidance, citing political uncertainty.

Britain’s Spectris slipped 9% after the scientific instruments maker said it expects annual adjusted operating profit to be at or marginally below the bottom end of market view.

Umicore jumped 4.2% after J.P.Morgan upgraded the Belgian metal recycling group to “overweight” from “underweight”.

Trading is expected to be light in the absence of U.S. participants as markets there were shut for a public holiday.

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