European shares broadly lower after reversing earlier gains

European shares are mainly lower Thursday afternoon as some downbeat earnings and political uncertainty weigh on investor sentiment.

European shares broadly lower after reversing earlier gains

European shares are trading broadly in the red, mid-afternoon Thursday. The markets were positive earlier in the session, boosted by the banking sector despite some mixed earnings results and ongoing geopolitical uncertainty.

Stocks followed upbeat US and Asian markets higher at the open and were also buoyed by RBS’ decision to accept a smaller US settlement than had been expected. However, those gains were short-lived.

By 1415 BST, the EUROSTOXX 600 was 0.44% lower, while the EUROSTOXX 50 had lost 0.45%. The regional bourses were a little mixed. The German DAX gained 0.02%, but the French CAC fell 0.12% and the Spanish IBEX was down 0.17%.

Banking gains fade

Banking stocks were positive earlier in the Thursday trading session, led by new the Royal Bank of Scotland after it agreed a $4.9 billion US mortgage settlement. RBS shares rose 2.87% to hit £284.30.

UniCredit shares were also higher after the Italian bank reported upbeat Q1 earnings, earlier Thursday. UniCredit shares were 1.38% higher at €17.78.

Weighing on the indices, meanwhile, was BT after the UK telecoms business announced weaker-than-expected earnings and also 13,00 job cuts. BT shares fell 7.75% £220.10.

Miner Randgold Resources share were also in the red after reporting a 24% decline in its net profits in the first three months of 2018. Randgold Resources shares slipped 8%.

Geopolitical unrest

Also causing some uncertainty is US President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement. While his decision is inline with one of his election pledges, it could lead to further uncertainty further out.

However, the immediate impact of that decision is that the oil price is continuing to push higher ahead of planned Us sanctions against the oil producing country.

Investors have also digested the news that the Bank of England held UK interest rates steady at its meeting. The central bank announced it had cut it’s 2018 UK growth forecast due to the soft start to the year.

Mark Carney said, however, the MPC anticipated the slower pace of Q1 GDP growth was likely only temporary.

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