German chemical deal lifts European shares, FTSE lags

Reuters Aug 7 | Updated on August 07, 2019

European shares rose on Wednesday after three days of falls, as deal-making activity in the German chemical sector helped offset losses from London-listed mining majors, with US-China trade worries lingering.

German chemical groups Bayer and Lanxess agreed a $3.9 billion deal to sell chemical park operator Currenta to Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), sending shares in both European companies 2-4 per cent higher.

That drove a more than 1 per cent rise in the sub-index of chemical industry companies and helped the pan-European STOXX 600 index gain 0.3 per cent after a volatile session on Tuesday, after the latest exchanges between Beijing and Washington.

The White House gave assurances late on Tuesday that it wants to press ahead with negotiations and that helped Germany's export-heavy DAX index outperform, shrugging off dire domestic industrial output data for June.

“There is still a bit of hope feeding into the markets that we could go on for a few weeks without any new form of retaliation,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda in London.

Worries, however, remained, with China's yuan weakening against the dollar, even after China's central bank took steps to control its fall on Monday.

London's FTSE 100, stacked with mining companies whose biggest global client is China, lagged as commodities trader and producer Glencore Plc sank on a 32 per cent drop in first-half core profit.

Banks overturned earlier losses to rise 0.3 per cent as a sharp rise in net profit at Italian lender Banco BPM put its shares on track for their best day in over a month.

Italy's biggest bank, UniCredit, however, lagged after it cut its revenue target for 2019 due to expectations interest rates would remain lower for longer.

Germany's Commerzbank fell almost 4 per cent after it said its target of a slight increase in full-year net profit had become “significantly more ambitious.”

Investors also punished Dutch lender ABN Amro for its comments on weaker margins, sending shares to their lowest in three years.

Published on August 07, 2019

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