European shares mixed for second day amid political uncertainty

European shares are mixed amid upbeat earnings reports and ongoing political uncertainty in North Korea and Italy.

European shares mixed for second day amid political uncertainty

European shares are mixed Wednesday as political uncertainty weighs amid upbeat earnings. Investors are torn between betting on businesses with positive results and outlooks and remaining cautious over the broader market as North Korea tensions return and Italian politics remains unsettled.

By 1350 BST, the EUROSTOXX 600 was up 0.21%, while the EUROSTOXX 50 was off 0.09%. Regional activity was also a little mixed. The German DAX edged 0.40% higher and the French CAC gained 0.16%, however the Spanish IBEX fell 0.96%.

Political jitters

Following a brighter period of relations between the US and North and South Korea, North Korea has threatened to call off an historic summit between himself and US President Trump. A discussion between the leaders of north and south Korea has also been cancelled by Kim Jong Un.

The global stock markets have previously been hit by uncertainty when relations between Trump and Jong Un have appeared less than stable. There had been hopes that relationship was improving. However, that is now unclear and could remain that way until any further details on the historic summit are shared.

Separately, the political situation in Italy is also finely balanced. 5-Star and the League party are in advanced talks to lead the country together. However, the financial markets were unnerved by reports a draft document includes a request to the ECB to forgive the country $250 billion of debt.

Italian banks were trading lower:

  • Unicredit shares were down 4.15% at €17.10.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo shares slid 3.07% to €3.08.
  • Banca Monti dei Paschi di Siena shares lost 3.34% to hit €3.12.

Share movers

Aside from falling Italian bank stocks, there were some other share moves of note Wednesday afternoon.

Novartis shares were lower as it announced its chief lawyer will step down in June in relation to the company’s contract with President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Alstom shares rose 4.95% to €40.69 in the wake of reporting strong sales growth and profits. And, Leoni shares were 3.70% higher at €54.40 after confirming an upbeat full year 2018 outlook.

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