You are here

Europe: Shares end losing streak but Brexit ruling, Credit Suisse losses weigh

[MILAN] European shares ended flat on Thursday, giving up early gains as a London court ruling complicated the Brexit process, boosting the pound and sending British blue chips to a five-week low.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended flat after eight sessions of losses - its longest losing streak in more than two years - while the UK's FTSE fell 0.8 per cent.

Britain's top share index was weighed down by internationally exposed companies including Diageo, which had benefited from weakness in sterling since Britain's vote to quit the EU in June.

But the pound soared to near four-week highs after England's High Court ruled that the government needed parliamentary approval to trigger the Brexit process, and the Bank of England shifted away from cutting rates further.

Market voices on:

Top FTSE fallers were precious metal miners Randgold and Fresnillo, down 6.3 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively.

In the past eight sessions, the Stoxx 600 had lost around 3.7 per cent as uncertainty over the outcome of the race for the White House grew after some polls showed Democrat Hillary Clinton losing her lead over Republican Donald Trump.

Credit Suisse was a big loser in Europe, down 7.1 per cent as investors cashed in on a recent rise in the price of the stock after third-quarter profit failed to match some expectations following strong results from US rivals.

"It looks like some expectation was higher after the US banks reported," Vontobel analyst Andreas Venditti, who has a "hold" rating on the stock, said.

Europe's banking sector still managed to rise one per cent, lifted by a well-received earning update from Societe Generale. The French bank gained 5.5 per cent.

ING rose 2.3 per cent after the largest Dutch bank reported a better-than-expected 22 jump in its underlying net result on continued loan growth and higher commission and fee income.

"We have seen some surprisingly good earnings reports from banks. The sector is showing some initial signs of a turnaround... and interest rate expectations could help banks further going forward," said Christian Stocker, strategist at UniCredit.

British satellite company Inmarsat rose 10.3 per cent, the top Stoxx 600 gainer, after reporting a 5.8 per cent rise in third-quarter revenue, while Tate & Lyle gained 3.7 per cent after raising its profit forecast.

Genmab jumped 11.4 per cent in heavy volumes after the Danish biotech company's third-quarter operating profit surged 31 per cent. It also raised its guidance due to increased royalty and milestone income related to sales of multiple myeloma drug Darzalex.