Europe Markets

Europe shares close lower as investors focused on U.S. health care


European markets closed lower on Tuesday afternoon as investors saw the U.S. revamping a health care bill to replace Obamacare.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed 0.53 percent lower mainly driven by health care stocks, which dropped 1.21 percent. This followed the news that Republican members of Congress had prepared their replacement bill for Obamacare. The bill is set to make significant changes to tax credits and impact low-income people. U.S. President Donald Trump urged Republican members to support the bill or they would risk losing votes in 2018.

Banking stocks were drawn into the trend after rallying in early deals. Several lenders jostled for position near the top of the benchmark with Deutsche Bank moving higher. This came as the subscription period began for the new shares that form part of the embattled bank's capital increase. Its shares ended up by 4.2 percent. Earlier in the session, the Euro Stoxx hit a one-year high, up by 0.4 percent to 379.19.

Basic resources stocks were the worst performers down 2.8 percent, amid a slide in metal prices, as mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were joined near the bottom of the index alongside copper miner Antofagasta. Rio Tinto's shares were down by more than 4 percent.

Meanwhile, Fingerprint Cards' shares dramatically fell 31 percent after warning it could not forecast its earnings for 2017 on increasing competition to supply fingerprint technology to smartphone makers. It also ditched plans to pay a dividend.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones saw a triple-digit fall as investors shifted their focus to healthcare reforms.

In oil markets, the commodity erased earlier gains on Tuesday afternoon. Brent crude traded at around $51.06 a barrel on Tuesday, down 1.03 percent, while U.S. crude was around $47.50 a barrel, down 1.49 percent.

Try not to overreact 

Elsewhere, U.K. inflation jumped to 2.3 percent in February, up from 1.8 percent in January. The bigger-than-expected spike was spurred on by food and fuel prices and returns above the Bank of England's 2 percent target. Sterling was 0.8 percent higher against the dollar on the news.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney was asked for his opinion on the U.K.'s spike in inflation figures reported on Tuesday as he gave a speech on banking standards in London. He urged investors not to "overreact to a single data point."

Meanwhile, President Donald Tusk of the European Council announced that the first EU summit to prepare the guidelines for the other 27 countries regarding Brexit will take place on April 29.

In France, several presidential candidates participated in the first televised debate on Monday evening with just over a month to go until voters head to the polls for the first round of a two-stage contest to elect a new premier.

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