Thursday 08:10 GMT
European stock indices are slipping back, following Wall Street’s lacklustre lead as the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved further away from the 20,000-point milestone while the US dollar weakened, also cooling from its strong run.
European banking stocks are under scrutiny. It comes after news that Monte dei Paschi di Siena is to be rescued by the Italian state using a new €20bn bailout package.
The government rescue, which had long been resisted in Rome, is designed to draw a line under the slow-burn crisis in Italian banking that has alarmed investors and become the main source of concern for European financial regulators.
Italian financials are generally higher, though it is taking more time for an opening price in Monte dei Paschi itself to hit the tape. UniCredit, Italy’s biggest lender, is up 0.6 per cent and Generali is up 0.6 per cent. Mediobanca is also 0.6 per cent stronger.
Overall, the index tracking the Italian banking sector is up 0.4 per cent, while the wider pan-regional Euro Stoxx banking index is up 0.1 per cent.
Italy’s FTSE MIB is outperforming its peers, up 0.1 per cent overall.
The FTSE 100 is down 0.2 per cent, while the Xetra Dax 30 in Frankfurt is down 0.2 per cent. The region-wide Euro Stoxx 600 is down 0.2 per cent.
Japanese shares continue to track the strong yen, with exporters under pressure. The benchmark Topix was down 0.4 per cent, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.8 per cent, while China’s Shanghai Composite inched up 0.1 per cent. .
On Wednesday, Wall Street indices went into retreat. The benchmark S&P 500 was down 0.2 per cent while the Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled back from a record high, dropping by 0.2 per cent, delaying a possible maiden advance through the 20,000 point milestone.
The US dollar index is down 0.1 per cent at 102.89, facing its first back-to-back decline in three weeks. It is still up 1.4 per cent so far this month and 4.4 per cent this year. The euro is up 0.2 per cent at $1.0446, while the pound is up 0.1 per cent at $1.2357.
The yen is steady at ¥117.58 per dollar, after strengthening by 0.3 per cent on Wednesday. The Japanese currency is 2.7 per cent weaker so far this month but has still gained 2.2 per cent over the course of the year.
Oil prices are steady, with Brent crude down 0.1 per cent at $54.43 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate up 0.1 per cent at $52.52.
Gold is up 0.1 per cent at $1,132.05 an ounce.
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