Markets

European stocks close flat as traders await Fed decision; Deutsche Bank down 8%

Key Points
  • President Trump's demands that China buy as much as $50 billion of U.S. farm products has become a major obstacle to trade talks between the world's two largest economies, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
  • The U.K. has confirmed it will hold a general election on December 12 after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gained approval from Parliament Tuesday night.

European stocks traded lower on Wednesday as traders awaited a decision on interest rates from the U.S. Federal Reserve, while corporate earnings remained high on the agenda.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally 0.06% higher during trade, with banks dropping around 2% as Deutsche Bank shares plunged. Household goods stocks added 1.5%.

The FTSE 100 in London and CAC 40 in Paris both managed to eke out gains of 0.34% and 0.45% by the close.

Investors are looking ahead to an interest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve Wednesday afternoon. The Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) is widely expected to cut rates by 25 basis points for the third time this year.

Global stocks initially struck a cautious tone Wednesday amid reports that China is reluctant to commit to U.S. President Donald Trump's demands that it make significant purchases of American agricultural products.

Trump's demands that China buy as much as $50 billion of U.S. farm products has become a major obstacle to trade talks between the world's two largest economies, Reuters reported on Wednesday citing sources briefed on the negotiations.

Reuters also reported that a U.S. official had suggested the "phase one" interim deal may not be signed at a summit in Chile next month, while Beijing's United Nations envoy also hit out at Washington and other UN nations over their criticism of China's detention of minority Muslim populations.

Back in Europe, the U.K. confirmed it will hold a general election on December 12 after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gained approval from Parliament Tuesday night. The early ballot is intended to break the Brexit stalemate which has paralyzed British politics in recent months.

Earnings in focus

Corporate earnings are high on the agenda after a slew of big bank earnings on Wednesday morning.

Deutsche Bank reported a net loss of 832 million euros ($924 million) for the third quarter, missing analyst expectations as a major restructuring plan continues to weigh on the German lender.

The bank's shares slipped almost 8% by the close, only bettering Italian tire maker Pirelli which shed 10/7% after cutting its guidance.

Credit Suisse reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter net income of 881 million Swiss francs ($886.9 million), a 108% increase from the same period last year, while Standard Chartered reported a net profit of $772 million, a 3% improvement on last year. The Swiss lender's shares slipped 2.6% while Standard Chartered climbed 2.6%.

The biggest gainer in the Stoxx 600 was London-listed Convatec, which surged 10.8% after posting solid third-quarter results and leaving its full-year guidance unchanged.

Fuchs Petrolub jumped 9.3% after the German lubricant maker posted a substantial third-quarter profit beat.

Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot Citroen shares surged9.5% and 4.5% respectively after confirming that they are in discussions over a potential merger aimed at creating one of the world's largest car manufacturers.

L'Oreal shares traded 7.6% higher after the French personal care company posted strong third-quarter numbers.