Posted on August 17, 2017 at 9:11 am GMT
Maja Rakic, XM Investment Research Desk

Equity indices across major European bourses opened lower, following their Asian peers that ended the day with a loss. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.15% while the blue-chip STOXX 50 index dropped 0.21%. The HANG SENG declined by 0.08% and Australia’s S&P/ASX200 slid 0.10%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 finished the day 0.14% lower.

A lower probability of another interest rate hike in the US this year, based on the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting led European banks lower. The financial sector was the worst performer, down 0.61%. Among banks, Standard Chartered (down 1.34%), UBS Group (down 1.26%) and RBS (down 1.18%) fared the worst. The energy sector followed with a decline of 0.58%.

The Swiss SMI fared the worst among European bourses as it tumbled 0.47%, dragged down by the stock price of Geberit. Shares in this Swiss toilet and plumbing supplies maker plunged 6.64% after the company posted disappointing second quarter results and gave a cautious outlook for 2017.

Following reduced revenue guidance, the share price of Hikma, a generics company tumbled 8.20% and was the worst performer among the STOXX 600 constituents. Some of the other bottom performers include Vestas, ISS and Kingfisher, all linked to earnings announcements.

Straumann’s share price hit an all-time high and topped STOXX 600 gainers. Shares of the dental implant maker rose 8.77% after an upbeat set of numbers released this morning along with an announced expansion in the orthodontics field via M&A.

The recent rally in the share price of Fiat Chrysler came to a halt following an announcement by Geely Automobile Holdings in which the company said it had not been planning a bid for Fiat. Chances of other potential Chinese companies bidding for Fiat are small as they could face significant US regulatory obstacles.

Wal-Mart is due to release its second quarter earnings ahead of the market, with analysts expecting lower EPS compared to a year ago. Target, another US discount store, positively surprised market participants yesterday by announcing an increase in its sales. Target reported a 1.3% rise in same-store sales, led by increased digital sales and a small gain in foot traffic. That is an improvement from the 1.1% decline a year ago and slightly better than analysts expected. Its share price was 3.61% higher yesterday.