European shares stumble from six-week highs after Chinese GDP data
21 Jan 2019
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell talks during a meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on January 21, 2019. / AFP
LONDON: European shares slipped on Monday from six-week highs after China's fourth-quarter growth figures confirmed a slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy with 2018 its weakest year since 1990.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.3 percent by 0825 GMT, in line with Germany's exporter-heavy DAX, while Britain's FTSE 100 eked out a 0.1 percent gain thanks to strong oil stocks.
With U.S. markets closed for Martin Luther King Day, trading was likely to stay thin, but company news kept investors busy.
German chemicals firm Henkel, maker of Persil detergent and Schwarzkopf shampoo, was the biggest STOXX 600 faller, down 5 percent after announcing increased investments in new brands, marketing and digitalisation.
Shares in online classifieds firm Scout24 climbed 3.1 percent after it rejected a 4.7 billion euro ($5.4 billion)takeover offer from private equity firms Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone, potentially paving the way for a bidding war.
The world's largest brickmaker, Wienerberger, edged up 0.4 percent after the firm raised its dividend, saying it would reach the upper end of its 2018 earnings guidance thanks to acquisitions and cost savings.
Just Eat shares fell 2.3 percent after the online food delivery company announced its CEO Peter Plumb was leaving with immediate effect and issued a trading update.
Broker notes moved some stocks: Air France shares climbed 4 percent after Davy Research upgraded the airline to outperform, while Fraport gained 2.8 percent after Goldman Sachs raised it to neutral from sell.
Deutsche Telekom fell 2.5 percent after Berenberg cut the stock to a "sell". ($1 = 0.8789 euros)