Market Overview

European stocks ease from record high ahead of earnings season

European stocks eased from all-time highs on Monday as investors held off from making big bets ahead of the earnings season, while British retailers reopened as the economy emerges from a strict winter lockdown. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.4% after closing at a record high on Friday, with banks, commodity and retail sectors among the biggest decliners.

Asian markets slid as investors waited to see if U.S. earnings can justify sky-high valuations, while concerns about a surge in global COVID-19 cases also weighed. European earnings will kick into higher gear later in April, with analysts expecting a 47.4% jump in first-quarter earnings for STOXX 600 companies, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Much of the support is likely to come from consumer cyclicals and industrial companies.

UK’s domestically focussed FTSE mid 250 index slid 0.5%, but hovered below a record high as shops, pubs, gyms and hairdressers reopened after three months of lockdown. Airlines EasyJet and Ryanair fell close to 3% after HSBC downgraded the stocks to “hold” from “buy”. Meanwhile, Norway’s budget airline Norse Atlantic rose 4.5% in its stock market debut.

European stocks ease from record high ahead of earnings season, Reuters, Apr 12

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