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European stocks boosted by euro retreat; Walmart weighs on Dow

Key eurozone stock markets posted gains on Tuesday as a weaker euro gave exporters a boost, while disappointing Walmart results weighed on US retailers and the broader American stock markets.

Bourses in Frankfurt and Paris climbed higher as exporters in the European Union were seen as benefiting from a pullback in the euro as the slumping dollar pushed higher.

"Could this be the start of an incredible rally or another dead cat bounce?," asked Lukman Otunuga, analyst at FXTM.

He said US growth and expected Federal Reserve interest rate increases stood to boost the currency, but only if other central banks did not tighten credit as fast as the US central bank.

Wall Street stocks, meanwhile, were dragged lower by Walmart, which reported a 42.1 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings to $2.2 billion and a sharp slowdown in e-commerce sales growth. Analysts said the results raised questions about the retail behemoth's online strategy and its ability to keep up with Amazon.

Shares of Walmart sank 10.2 percent, its biggest one-day decline in percentage terms in more than 30 years. Other large retailers also suffered, including Target, Costco Wholesale and Best Buy.

The S&P 500 spent part of the day in positive territory, but ended down 0.6 percent following a choppy session.

Analysts said investors remain uneasy following the volatility of recent weeks. US stocks rallied last week after suffering deep losses the prior week due to worries about tightening US monetary policy.

"I would say investors are derisking in a quiet market," said Karl Haeling, vice president of LBBW.

London finished down slightly following disappointing results for HSBC and BHP, both of which lost 4.5 percent.

IHG shed three percent as the owner of the InterContinental and Holiday Inn brands said it planned no dividend payouts for 2018.

In Asia, the Tokyo stock market closed down Tuesday more than one percent, snapping a three-day winning streak as investors locked in profits after the recent gains.

Hong Kong shed 0.8 percent as traders returned to work after the Lunar New Year holiday marking the start of the Year of the Dog.

Key figures around 2200 GMT

New York - DOW: DOWN 1.0 percent at 24,964.75 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,716.26 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,234.31 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 7,246.77 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.8 percent at 12,487.90 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 5,289.86 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 3,436.05

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.0 percent at 21,925.10 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 30,873.63 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: Closed for public holiday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2336 from $1.2410 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3995 from $1.4024

Dollar/yen: UP at 107.32 yen from 106.30 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 42 cents at $65.25 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 22 cents at $61.90 per barrel

Published : February 21, 2018

By : Agence France-Presse New York