Europe midday: Shares lower as inflationary worries intensify
European shares were lower on Thursday as companies reported persistent inflationary pressures and the ongoing spike in Covid Omicron cases and shares in UK house builder Countryside Properties fell by almost a third.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.14% with most major regional bourses lower. Shares rallied briefly on Wednesday afternoon as US inflation data was not as bad as initially feared.
“US CPI came in at a 40-year high of 7% but market reaction was muted as it was largely in line, albeit the core reading was a bit higher than expected,” said Neil Wilson at Markets.com.
“In the end stocks rallied and the three major Wall Street indices ended higher, but the price action suggests ongoing uncertainty re the Fed and inflation.”
In Europe, governments worked to stymie the spread of the latest virus wave, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urging mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for all adults, and the French Senate approving new measures including a vaccine pass.
Among equities, shares in British housebuilder Countryside Properties slumped 17% after the company said first quarter adjusted revenue and adjusted operating profit fell, and chief executive officer Iain McPherson would step down immediately.
UK retailers Tesco and Marks & Spencer were both lower, despite lifting annual profits guidance as both companies said they were experiencing inflationary headwinds.
French consulting and software group Sopra Steria gained more than 6% after the company said it would meet raised targets for 2021 and named a new chief executive officer.
Food ingredients maker Chr Hansen rose after reporting quarterly organic revenue growth well above forecasts.
Swiss plumbing supplies firm Geberit was down as it said increased uncertainty made it impossible to give a 2022 outlook for raw materials prices or the construction market overall.
Housebuilder Persimmon lost ground despite posting a jump in revenues, with peers Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley also lower.