EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Fall As Caution Over Geopolitical Tensions Linger
By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
European stocks fell Thursday, with caution still lingering as tension between U.S. and North Korea escalated, and as German consumer-goods company Henkel AG & Co. was among the companies whose shares pulled the market toward a second consecutive decline.
The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3% to 378.56, led by losses in the industrial group. The utility and health care sectors were the only ones showing gains. The pan-European benchmark on Wednesday fell 0.7% in a selloff prompted by tensions between the U.S. and North Korea escalated.
"European indices are following their Asian counterparts lower once more today, as the risk aversion seen over the past two days continues apace," said IG market analyst Joshua Mahony in a note.
"For now, tensions are high, yet in all likeliness we will see this intensity simmer down somewhat, with both sides standing to lose more than they would gain from military action," he added.
On Thursday, Germany's DAX 30 lost 0.2% to 12,124.23, and France's CAC 40 index fell 0.3% to 5,132.45. Equity benchmarks in Germany and France on Wednesday fell by more than 1% each, marking their worst sessions since July 21.
Those moves came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat to strike a U.S. military base in Guam .
His order, reported in state media, came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump late Tuesday warned Pyongyang not to "make any more threats" to the U.S, saying it would face a "fire and fury" response "like the world has never seen." Trump's comments came after a Washington Post report (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.0938becb046e) that North Korea has built a miniaturized nuclear warhead.
European equities on Thursday didn't find much relief from a pullback in the euro, with the shared currency buying $1.1730, down from $1.760 late Wednesday in New York.
Stock movers: Henkel (>> Henkel AG & Co KGaA) fell 3.4% after the maker of Schwarzkopf hair care products, Right Guard deodorant and Persil detergent posted second-quarter organic sales growth of 2.2%, which was below consensus of 3.2%, according to Investec.
"Henkel's Beauty has underperformed peers for several years and given the results this morning, this trend looks set to continue -- at least over the near-term," said Investec analyst Eddy Hargreaves in a note.
Adecco shares (>> Adecco Group) fell 5.6%. The staffing services company posted a rise in second-half profit to EUR192 million, and analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of EUR194 million.
Aegon NV (>> Aegon) climbed 7.4% as the Dutch insurer reported a 23% rise in underlying earnings and said it's selling its Aegon Ireland PLC business to help increase financial flexibility.
Galapagos NV (>> Galapagos) soared 16% after the company posted positive clinical trial results of a pulmonary fibrosis treatment.
Indexes: In London, the FTSE 100 moved down 0.6% to 7,452.24 , and Spain's IBEX 35 gave up 0.3% at 10,563.60.