European markets traded mixed on Wednesday as investors continue to monitor U.S.-China relations and corporate earnings.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered just below the flatline in early trade, with bank stocks bucking the trend to rise 0.9% as most sectors traded in the red, led by a fall of 0.7% for basic resources.
China is reportedly pressing U.S. President Donald Trump to roll back tariffs the U.S. imposed in September before a “phase one” trade deal is signed between the world’s two biggest economies.
UN economists warned in a report on Tuesday that the Sino-U.S. trade war was a “lose-lose” situation, costing China $35 billion in the first half of this year while U.S. consumers and companies bore the brunt of the most expensive tariffs.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Tuesday that finalizing a location for a meeting between Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping has become another hurdle for the deal.
However, traders are largely optimistic that the preliminary agreement could be signed as early as this month.
Asian shares traded mixed on Wednesday, with MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index excluding Japan edging slightly lower. Singapore’s Straits Times index led regional gains, adding 0.3%.
Back in Europe, IHS Markit will publish composite PMI data for the euro zone at 9:00 a.m. London time.
Earnings in focus
Market focus is also largely attuned to corporate earnings.
Societe Generale on Wednesday posted a net income of 854 million euros ($945 million) for the third quarter, slightly below expectations, but saw its shares rise 2.8% in early deals as traders took heart from the French lender’s robust capital position.
Adidas, meanwhile, reported a 6% year-on-year increase in sales and flat operating profit, confirming its full-year outlook. CEO Kasper Rorsted said in a press release Wednesday that 2019 would be a record year for the German athletic wear brand. Shares edged 0.8% higher early in the session.
BMW shares slid 1.2% lower despite reporting a 33% rise in third-quarter operating profit. The German carmaker reiterated that it expects a significant fall in group pre-tax profit for the year.
Marks & Spencer saw its shares jump 6.1% in early trade after reporting a 52% rise in profit for the first half of the year.
Chemical and ingredients distributor Brenntag also saw a boost from stable third-quarter earnings, adding 6.5% to lead the Stoxx 600.
Elsewhere, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will formally announce on Wednesday that a general election will be held on December 12 in the United Kingdom. He will pledge in his announcement to “get Brexit done in the next few weeks,” Reuters reported.