European shares close after recovering the day's losses; Steinhoff tanks 63%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 0.1 percent Wednesday afternoon
  • While other major European bourses were in the red, the U.K. FTSE bounced back to close 0.28 percent higher
  • Steinhoff shares crashed Wednesday after the retail group announced it had launched an investigation into accounting irregularities after its CEO had resigned
  • Bitcoin broke above the $12,000 mark prior to the European open, as the cryptocurrency continued to advance

European markets closed lower by a small margin Wednesday afternoon as investors reacted to a slump in global technology stocks.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the day's trading down 0.1 percent with sectors pointing in different directions, with some having recovered from losses earlier in the day. Most major bourses were in negative territory but the U.K. FTSE rebounded in afternoon trade, closing 0.28 percent to the upside.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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Auto and bank stocks fell the furthest Wednesday, with both sectors down roughly 1 percent.

Tech stocks have come under pressure recently amid concern that the chip market boom could soon come to an end. But, the sector recovered roughly half of 1 percent in afternoon trade, ultimately closing 0.56 percent lower.

The food and beverages sector was 0.77 percent higher.

Looking at individual stocks, Steinhoff shares crashed on Wednesday after the retail group announced it had launched an investigation into accounting irregularities after the CEO had resigned. Its shares closed over 63 percent lower on the news.

The U.K.'s Saga was another big faller Wednesday, down more than 21 percent after a profit warning. The company, which specializes in over-50s travel and insurance, said profits in the current financial year would grow more slowly than anticipated.

Meanwhile, British shopping center investment firm Hammerson announced Wednesday it had agreed to buy Intu Properties in a deal worth approximately £3.4 billion ($4.56 billion). Shares of Intu Properties topped the Stoxx 600 Wednesday afternoon, rallying nearly 14 percent by the end of the day.

Stateside, U.S. equities rebounded following a lower open. Tech stocks bounced back from falls in recent days, as investors kept an eye on news concerning tax reform coming out of Washington.

Geopolitics in focus

In the latest news surrounding the divorce proceedings between the U.K. and the European Union (EU), British leader Theresa May is facing pressure from fellow political parties to soften negotiations by keeping the U.K. within the customs union and the single market after it leaves the political-economic bloc, Reuters reported.

Consequently, investors will be paying close attention to the British pound during the week as it battles with Brexit developments. Speaking of currencies, Bitcoin broke above the $12,000 mark prior to the European open as the cryptocurrency continued to advance.

Stateside, President Donald Trump is reportedly poised to announce the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Wednesday, with senior administration officials saying the embassy will be moved there, although noted that this could take "years". The move is controversial in the Middle East and has been criticized by Turkey, among others.

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