NEW YORK: The Dow’s six-day streak of records ended Thursday, while European stocks treaded water after the European Central Bank opted against additional stimulus.
After almost four weeks of steady gains, US stocks paused, with the Dow retreating from records following disappointing earnings reports from components Intel and American Express.
As expected, the European Central Bank did not announce any new measures at its regular policy meeting on Thursday.
However, investors had been looking for ECB chief Mario Draghi to hint strongly at a further loosening in monetary policy in September to deal with any slowdown caused by uncertainty after Britain’s shock vote on June 23 to quit the European Union.
Draghi signalled the “readiness, willingness, ability” of ECB policymakers to use all the central bank’s tools if needed, but also praised the resilience of the markets following the Brexit vote.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 stock index ended the day with a gain of 0.1 percent while in Paris the CAC 40 edged down 0.1 percent.
Outside the eurozone, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 stock index slid 0.4 percent.
Sentiment was hit by data showing British retail sales sank in June by the largest amount in six months.
The Office for National Statistics said there was no anecdotal evidence from retailers of any impact from Britain’s shock EU exit referendum on June 23. Bad weather meanwhile hit demand for clothing and footwear last month.
The Nikkei in Japan climbed 0.8 percent, with exporters boosted by a weak yen after a report said Japan’s government is preparing a hefty stimulus package to boost growth.
Airlines under pressure
On the corporate front, shares in EasyJet fell 5.3 percent as the head of the British no-frills airline warned that carriers are facing one of their most challenging periods “for a long time”, with peak summer bookings hit by terror attacks and Brexit uncertainty.
EasyJet opted against offering a full-year profit forecast in light of the uncertainty.
Shares in British Airways owner IAG shed 3.6 percent, while German carrier Lufthansa slumped 6 percent.
US airlines were also under pressure after Southwest Airlines projected third quarter revenue per passenger mile would fall three to four percent due to sharper competition that is driving down fares. The airline was also forced to cancel hundreds of flights Wednesday and Thursday following computing system problems.
Southwest fell 11.2 percent. Other airlines also suffered, with Delta Air Lines shares down 4.2 percent, United Continental 3.4 percent and American Airlines 2.7 percent.
Shares for US health insurers jumped after the Justice Department sued to block Aetna’s $37 billion takeover of Humana, and Anthem’s $54 billion merger with Cigna on antitrust grounds.
While they four said they would fight the suits, shareholders appeared to prefer otherwise. Aetna stocks rose 1.6 percent, Anthem 2.6 percent, Humana 8.3 percent, and Cigna 5.4 percent.
New York – DOW: DOWN 0.4 percent at 18,517.23 (close)
New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 2,165.17 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.3 percent at 5,073.90 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 6.699.89 points (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 10,156.21 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 4,376.25 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 2,968.49 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.8 percent at 16,810.22 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 22,000.49 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,039.01 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1024 from $1.1016
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3226 from $1.3197
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.76 yen from 106.87 yen
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016
Courtesy : BRecorder