European markets opened weaker this morning following the U.S. and Asia.
In London, no change is expected from the Bank of England's interest rate fixing later today, but markets will be listening carefully to Governor Mark Carney's views after the rate announcement bout the climate ahead of the British referendum on EU membership on June 23.
In London the FTSE 100 was down 0.37% at 6,139.4, while in Frankfurt the Dax was down 0.11% at 9,964.10 and in Paris the Cac 40 was off 0.03% at 4,315.19.
Brent Crude strengthened 0.29% to $47.74 while West Texas Intermediate rose 0.48% to $46.45. And on the futures market the S&P 500 mini was up 0.35% at $2,065.25.
Japan's Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF) drove away strongly, rising over 16% to the daily limit, after news broke that rival Nissan Motor (NSANY) plans to take a 34% stake in the company for $1.8 billion, in the wake of the scandal over its falsified fuel economy data. Nissan itself was down about 1.5%.
British commercial TV company, ITV (ITVPF) fell around 0.5%, despite announcing strong external revenue, up 14% at £755 million ($1.1 billion) in the first quarter and broadcast and online revenue up 2% at £539 million. It spoke of uncertainty in the U.K. advertising market since the start of the debate over whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU and there was also an increase in the group's pension deficit, under international accounting rules, from £176 million at the end of December to £204 million at the end of March due to a reduction in corporate bond yields in the first quarter.
Cut price telecoms company Talktalk Telecom (TKTCY) fell almost 3%, despite reporting that the business has bounced back strongly in the final quarter of its April-to-March financial year. The company suffered a high-profile cyber-attack last year which cause it to issue a profit warning, but now says it is well placed for growth.
In Europe, international stock exchange operator Euronext (EUXTF) , which runs the Paris and Amsterdam exchanges as well as smaller outfits in Brussels and Lisbon, Portugal, reported a drop in revenue because of the global market wobble that hit in the first quarter. Both trading volumes and new listings were hit, but profit before tax rose 3% compared with the same quarter last year, as operating expenses fell. Euronext will present its new three-year strategic plan tomorrow. The stock seesawed wildly in early trading, but by mid-morning Paris time was up around 0.5%.
In Switzerland, Zurich Insurance (ZFSVF) rose nearly 4%, despite declaring a sharp drop in year on year profit. The net profit figure of $875 million came in well ahead of market expectations.
Franco-Swiss cement giant LafargeHolcim (HCMLF) dropped over 3%, weighed down by falling sales in emerging markets. However, the company forecast demand will rise again in 2016 and said it would bring down debt sharply this year.
German utility RWE (RWEOY) took a power surge from a 5% increase in first-quarter earnings to €2.3 billion ($2.6 billion). The company is planning to hive off its renewables, grids and retail business into a separate entity, while it manages its traditional business to cope with Germany's radical shift away from fossil fuel as well as nuclear energy towards wind and solar power.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 closed up 0.41% after a weak start, at 16,646.34, while the Topix rose 0.22% to 1,337.27. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed down 0.7% at 19,915.46 and in China the combined Shanghai Shenzhen CSI300 finished the day up 0.24% at 3,090.14.