European Shares Slide Ahead Of Powell’s Testimony

European stocks fell in cautious trade on Tuesday as optimism over
U.S.-China trade talks faded and investors looked ahead to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony before Congress as well as a slew of U.S. reports on housing starts, home prices and consumer confidence for additional clues about the outlook for interest rates.

Traders also keep an eye on the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which will focus on the denuclearization agreement that Trump and Kim signed in the Singapore summit last summer.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down 0.3 percent at 370.94 in opening deals after rising 0.3 percent on Monday.

The German DAX was moving down 0.2 percent, France’s CAC 40 index was declining 0.4 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was losing 1 percent.

French technology company Thales dropped 1.9 percent. After reporting a rise in FY18 profit, the company forecast higher EBIT and organic sales in FY19.

Chemicals group BASF rallied 3.5 percent in Frankfurt despite the company posting a sharp drop in fourth-quarter earnings.

Aixtron slumped 9.3 percent after its fourth-quarter net result dropped 33 percent to 18.2 million euros from 27.2 million euros last year.

Total SA, Tullow Oil and BP Plc were moving lower as oil extended overnight losses following U.S. President Trump’s tweet calling on OPEC to ease its efforts to boost prices.

British housebuilder Persimmon advanced 1.7 percent as it posted annual profits above £1bn for the first time.

Barratt Developments rose 1 percent and Taylor Wimpey gained 1.8 percent.

In economic releases, Germany’s consumer confidence is set to hold steady in March, amid the sustained sharp decline in economic expectations and stable income expectations, survey data from the GfK revealed.

The forward-looking consumer confidence indicator showed a reading of 10.8 for March, same as in February. The outcome was in line with economists’ expectations.

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