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European markets finish mixed as miners tumble 1.75%; oil prices rise

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished trade down 0.02 percent, while sectors pointed in different directions.
  • Basic resources stocks led the losses on Wednesday, as profit-taking hit metal prices.
  • Meantime, global oil demand appeared set to accelerate faster than expected this year, according to the IEA, which has revised up its 2017 growth estimates.

European markets closed Wednesday's trade relatively flat, as a mixed performance from overseas markets and a sharp decline in mining stocks weighed on the region.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished trade down 0.02 percent, while sectors pointed in different directions.

Looking to bourses, the French CAC 40 and German DAX ended on a high, closing up 0.17 and 0.23 percent respectively. Meanwhile, a drop in London-listed miners added pressure to the FTSE 100, which closed 0.28 percent down.

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Basic resources stocks led the losses on Wednesday, as profit-taking hit metal prices. The sector fell 1.75 percent at the close after commodity traders said an emergence of funds offloading copper overnight had failed to carry into the market, Reuters reported.

Glencore, Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Anglo American all finished off 2 percent or more, on the back of a sharp decline in copper and nickel prices.

Looking to media stocks, France's Vivendi, surged towards the top of the benchmark after UBS upgraded its stock rating for the firm to "buy" from "neutral". Its shares finished up 2.78 percent.

Meantime, Italy's largest private broadcaster Mediaset was cut to "underperform" from "outperform" by Macquarie. The firm downgraded Mediaset, arguing that Vivendi's attempted takeover of the group no longer appeared imminent. Mediaset sank 5 percent.

Elsewhere at the bottom of the benchmarks was Travis Perkins, finishing 3.85 percent lower after U.K. home improvement retailer was given an "underperform" rating by Bernstein, according to Reuters.

Sticking with British stocks, Tesco and Booker Group both finished sharply lower after Exane BNP Paribas cut both stocks to "underperform".

Looking to the US: Geopolitics and Apple

Overseas, Wall Street traded relatively mixed around Europe's market close on Wednesday, with tech stocks adding pressure to major indexes.

This comes as tech giant Apple came under pressure during early U.S. trade, as investors appeared disappointed after news surfaced that the tech giant would not begin taking orders for its eagerly awaited iPhone X model until October. Consequently, European semiconductor firms Dialog Semiconductor and AMS posted declines during trade, both ending in the red as a result.

Sticking with U.S. news, despite cooling tensions regarding the Korean peninsula, investors remained wary of another geopolitical flare-up. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that United Nations sanctions imposed on Pyongyang this week were a "very small step" and "nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen" to combat the isolated regime's nuclear program.

Global oil demand to exceed expectations in 2017

On the data front, Britain's unemployment rate fell to a new 42-year low of 4.3 percent for the three months to July. However, average weekly earnings were weaker-than-anticipated, rising 2.1 percent in the second-quarter.

Meantime, global oil demand appeared set to accelerate faster than expected this year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which has revised up its 2017 growth estimates.

Strong second-quarter demand has buoyed oil markets, which have been struggling to rebalance as a supply glut has weighed heavily on prices, the IEA said in its September report released Wednesday. At the market close, Brent and U.S. crude posted gains of more than 1 percent each, hovering at $54.90 and $49.00 respectively.

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— CNBC's Karen Gilchrist contributed to this report.