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Stock Market

MarketPulse Europe: Automotive, Travel Woes in Focus as EU Cuts Forecasts

Investing.com -- It’s another cheerless day in Europe’s stock markets as more evidence of the damage from the U.S.-China trade

Investing.com -- It’s another cheerless day in Europe’s stock markets as more evidence of the damage from the U.S.-China trade war comes to light and the EU slashes its growth forecasts.

The mood has been grim in the automotive sector for some months and wasn't helped by Daimler 's (DE:DAIGn) profit fall and dividend cut Wednesday. Another drop in German industrial output, out Thursday, is consistent with that, but it’s Fiat Chrysler (MI:FCHA), which announced a big recall of Dodge Ram trucks Wednesday (and which reports fourth-quarter earnings later today), that’s the biggest loser.

At 05:30 AM ET (10:30 GMT) the Euro Stoxx index was down 23 points, or 0.7%, at 3189.65.

Those lower down the auto food chain are also suffering. Osram Licht AG (DE:OSRn) – the Siemens lighting spin-off that is a big supplier to the auto industry – said it swung to a loss in the three months to December thanks to the slowdown in China, and in automotive in particular. That's weighing on other suppliers such as Continental (DE:CONG) and Covestro (DE:1COV) in Germany, and Valeo (PA:VLOF) and Michelin (PA:MICP) in France.

Travel companies are again making negative headlines: Tui AG NA (DE:TUIGn) fell over 16% after missing its 2018 profit target and saying that 2019 margins look weaker. Meanwhile, Thomas Cook (LON:TCG) fell after saying it’s looking at selling its airline business as it prepares for a year overshadowed by Brexit, and Norwegian Air Shuttle (OL:NWC) confirmed a $257 million loss last year after a 71% rise in its fuel costs.

The good news is coming, again, from the energy and the food and drink sectors. Pernod Ricard SA (PA:PERP), maker of Jameson’s whiskey and Martell cognac, followed Diageo (LON:DGE) in reporting strong fourth-quarter numbers and predicting a robust 2019. And French oil giant Total SA (PA:TOTF) reported a record year for output that lifted its stock and that of rivals BP (LON:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa).

Italy’s bombed-out banks are also having a strong morning after Unicredit (MI:CRDI) posted its highest annual profit in a decade – despite the headwinds from its operations in Turkey and its home market. Rivals Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (MI:ISP) also reported stronger-than-expected numbers Wednesday.