European shares fell on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve sent a neutral message on policy and a mixed bag of earnings for the region trickled in.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.6 percent as major markets returned from the May Day holiday, except for London’s FTSE 100, which extended losses from the previous session.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell disappointed the doves after the Central Bank’s Wednesday meeting, signaling little appetite to adjust interest rates anytime soon.
Later on Thursday, the Bank of England will also decide on rates. No change is likely; investors will be looking for a better picture of the UK economy and clues on Brexit preparations.
The basic resources sector dropped 1.3 percent after copper prices fell to their lowest in more than two months.
The bank sub-index fell after a mixed bag of earnings. The Dutch bank ING Groep NV tumbled after reporting a 6.1 pct decline in first-quarter profits, but France’s BNP Paribas rose 1 percent after its first-quarter net profits beat expectations.
Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group posted robust first quarter profits although house prices cooled and confidence dwindled among its small-business borrowers. The stock fell.
Among the bright spots, Sanofi SA’s shares got a lift after the drugmaker won U.S. regulatory approval for its dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
Europe’s biggest online-only fashion retailer, Zalando, were boosted by solid first-quarter sales growth. German fashion house Hugo Boss slipped after reporting a fall in first-quarter earnings.
Asian trading overnight was quiet with Japan and China still shut for holidays. Some hope emerged on trade after reports that U.S. and China may be nearing a deal that would roll back some of the U.S. tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods.