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European Stocks Weaken; Higher Yields Weigh

Stock MarketsFeb 26, 2021 03:46AM ET
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By Peter Nurse - European stock markets traded lower Friday, continuing the global selloff after a sharp rise in bond yields weighed on sentiment.

At 3:45 AM ET (0845 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.3% lower, the CAC 40 in France fell 0.6% and the U.K.'s FTSE index dropped 0.3%.

Losses in Europe have been led by resource and technology stocks, amid concerns that lofty valuations will be placed under extreme pressure if funding conditions tighten significantly.

Miner BHP Group (NYSE:BHP) stock dropped 1.1% and oil major BP (NYSE:BP) dropped 1.8%, while tech stocks ASML Holding (NASDAQ:ASML), Logitech (NASDAQ:LOGI) and Adyen (AS:ADYEN) all fell more than 1%

In corporate news, IAG (LON:ICAG) stock rose 2.6% after the owner of British Airways pointed to U.K. plans for travel markets to possibly reopen from mid-May as a positive sign, even as it posted a loss of 4.37 billion euros ($5.31 billion) for 2020.

Deutsche Telekom (OTC:DTEGY) stock rose 0.1%, outperforming the wider market, after the German telecommunications giant reported a sharp rise in net profit and soaring revenue in its fourth quarter. 

BASF (DE:BASFN), one of the world's largest chemicals companies, also reported better-than-expected figures and sounded an optimistic note about the outlook this year for its biggest customer, the auto industry. Its stock still fell 0.9%.

The global weakness started on Wall Street overnight, as the tech-heavy Nasdaq suffered its worst day in nearly four months, dropping 3.5%. This selloff continued in Asia, with Japan’s Nikkei ending almost 4% lower and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropping over 3%.

Overnight, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note briefly crossed the 1.6% level to trade at its highest level in more than a year. Higher long-term rates raise the opportunity cost of holding assets that are only expected to generate free cash flow in the future.

German January import prices surprised on the upside earlier Friday, but both French consumer prices and fourth-quarter GDP came in below expectations. The European Central Bank has said it expects to look through any short-term increase in CPI, given the underlying problems still facing the Eurozone economy.

Oil prices fell sharply Friday, as rising U.S. Treasury yields supported the greenback, making U.S.-dollar priced oil more expensive.

Despite this drop, both Brent and WTI are up strongly this week, with gains of around 3.8% and 5.9%, respectively, up about 20% this month.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, is due to meet next week. Concerns are growing that this rise in prices will tempt the producers to add supply to the market.

U.S. crude futures traded 1.1% lower at $62.86 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 1.1% to $65.38. 

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,764.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.2149.


European Stocks Weaken; Higher Yields Weigh

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