European stocks close mixed on earnings, new trade tariffs; Lanxess up 5.4%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended trade 0.2 percent lower.
  • Healthcare stocks were the worst performing in Europe, dragged down by H. Lundbeck.
  • Germany's Lanxess topped the Stoxx 600 following news that it is selling its 50 percent stake in rubber maker Arlanxeo to Saudi Aramco in a cash deal worth 1.4 billion euros.

European stocks closed mixed on Wednesday as investors kept a close eye on corporate earnings and trade tension.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended trade 0.2 percent lower on Tuesday. While the French and German bourses closed below the flat line, the U.K. FTSE was up 0.7 percent.

Autos and technology were the two top performing sectors, both finishing up by around half a percent.

Meanwhile, healthcare stocks were the worst performing in Europe, dragged down by H. Lundbeck. The Danish pharmaceutical company foundered at the bottom of the Stoxx 600, closing over 14 percent lower. Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk ended trade down by almost 6 percent after posting lower-than-expected second-quarter sales.

Looking at individual stocks, Germany's Lanxess topped the European benchmark. The chemicals company traded up by approximately 5.5 percent throughout the afternoon following news that it is selling its 50 percent stake in rubber-maker Arlanxeo to Saudi Aramco in a cash deal worth 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion).

Dutch lender ABN AMRO closed 3.5 percent higher after reporting stronger-than-expected profits for the second quarter of the year. Meanwhile tire maker Nokian Renkaat ended the day 3.4 percent higher after reporting results that beat analysts' forecasts.

At the other end of the spectrum, Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize finished 1.6 percent in the red after reporting a decline in second-quarter sales.

U.S. stocks lower on new China tariffs

Stateside, stocks traded lower on Wednesday after China unveiled new tariffs on U.S. goods. Disney shares also contributed to the broader market's decline.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 36 points, with Disney as the biggest laggard. The S&P 500 fell 0.1 percent with energy underperforming. The Nasdaq Composite traded just below breakeven.

Investors are digesting developments overnight after the U.S. said it will impose further tariffs on Chinese goods starting August 23, 2018. It is expected that 25 percent import taxes are going to applied to about $16 billion of annual imports. A first set of tariffs, on $34 billion worth of goods, went into effect in July.

In other corporate news, 21st Century Fox filed paperwork for its proposed £14 ($18) per share takeover of British broadcaster Sky on Tuesday, although it is still short of Comcast's £14.75 per share bid for the coveted media asset.