Europe open: Shares open weaker on Fed news; waiting on BoE
European shares opened weaker on Thursday as investors weighed the US Fed decision overnight to leave interest rates at near-zero until at least 2023.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 1% at 369.39, in line with all major Continental bourses.
In London, investors were waiting for the Bank of England’s policy announcement at midday, which was widely expected to hold on interest rates and its bond-buying programme.
In corporate news, shares in German financial services company Grenke bounced back from Wednesday’s plunge on news it was under investigation after a report by a short-selling investor research company alleged it of market manipulation, money laundering and fraud.
Grenke has strongly rejected the report, published by Fraser Perring of Viceroy Research. Shares of Frankfurt-listed Grenke fell by almost a third on Wednesday, but were up nearly 6% in early Thursday trade.
Car makers Renault and Volkswagen were lower after data showing new-car registrations slumped 18.9% in August and 5.7% in July. German registrations fell 20% and French registrations 19.8%, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Miners were weaker as copper prices fell, with Rio Tinto, BHP and Anglo American all trading lower.
On the upside, retailer Next rallied as it posted a decline in half-year pre-tax profit to £9m from £320m but upgraded its profit guidance after sales in the first half and beyond held up better than it had expected. Next increased its central guidance for annual pre-tax profit to £300m from £195m.
FTSE 250 online trading platform IG Group was also a gainer as the firm posted a big jump in first-quarter revenue on Thursday as it continued to benefit from high levels of trading activity and new client acquisition.