Europe close: Stocks dip as investors pause for breath
European stocks slipped on Wednesday as investors paused to evaluate continental survey data.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.22% at 434.32 after closing at an all-time high of 435.26 the day before. Britain's FTSE 100 outperformed, climbing 0.91% to 6,885.32, driven by a weaker pound, which benefits the exporter-dominated index.
Investors in the UK were cheered by the roll-out of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in the country, where almost half the population had already received at least a first vaccine shot, although fears of blood clots in children from the AstraZeneca jab and reports of a slowdown in supply had tempered the mood.
Business activity in the Eurozone returned to growth in March as manufacturing output surged and services improved, two surveys showed. The final IHS Markit Eurozone composite purchasing managers' index rose to 53.2, outstripping a preliminary estimate of 52.5 and recovering from a score of 48.8 in February.
Shares in Flutter Entertainment fell on the back of a share placing and reports Fox Corp has filed a suit against the company related to its option to buy an 18.6% stake in US sports betting group FanDuel.
Fox wants to buy the stake at an $11.2bn valuation, which is the value that was set when it bought a 37.2% stake from Fastball in December, but Flutter wants fair market value.
Oil giant Shell rose despite reporting that the extreme weather in Texas last February was expected to hit first-quarter adjusted earnings by up to $200m.
Deliveroo shares added 2.14% higher on the first day of unconditional trading, as retail investors were allowed to take part for the first time. However, this is still around a quarter lower than the initial offer price of 390p each. Reports overnight said underwriters Goldman Sachs ended up picking up around £75m worth of stock after last week’s disappointing debut.
French power group EDF topped the gainers, up 10.5% after reports the government expects to spend around €10bn to buy out minority shareholders as part of a proposed restructuring of the company.
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