LONDON, March 19 — European shares opened flat to marginally higher today, as investors made cautious moves ahead of a US Federal Reserve meeting while British Prime Minister Theresa May’s third attempt to get a Brexit deal through parliament was blocked for now.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1 per cent by 0806 GMT after four sessions of solid gains, while Germany’s DAX index was less than 0.05 per cent higher and London’s FTSE dipped 0.1 per cent.
The Fed’s two-day meeting starts today, with financial markets expecting the US central bank to reinforce a dovish approach to any further rises in interest rates.
Rate-sensitive bank stocks dipped 0.2 per cent, after jumping more than a full percentage point in value yesterday following confirmation of merger talks between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.
Scandal-hit Danske Bank fell over five per cent, the most on the STOXX 600, after shareholders voted against a proposal to break up the bank.
British leader May’s Brexit plans were thrown into turmoil yesterday when the speaker of parliament ruled that she could not put her divorce deal to a new vote unless it was re-submitted in a fundamentally different form.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said today that the decision meant there would be no vote this week.
British online supermarket Ocado overturned expectations of an initial fall to rise almost three per cent as strong first quarter sales numbers outweighed the fallout of a fire last month at its flagship robotic distribution centre.
German specialty chemicals maker Wacker Chemie dropped 2.3 per cent after projecting “significantly” lower net income in 2019 compared with a year earlier.
France’s telecoms operator Iliad dropped more than two per cent after the company cut its cash-flow target for 2020 in France and added it was considering selling part of its mobile assets. — Reuters