(Reuters) – European equities were largely flat on Wednesday due to losses in the tech and mining sectors and investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy move.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.02% following losses in Asian markets and Wall Street.
The exceptional results of the American software company Microsoft overnight did little to help the European tech sector, which fell 0.9%.
The miners were affected as Fresnillo Plc forecast lower gold production for the current year.
Meanwhile, global coronavirus cases have topped 100 million, according to a Reuters tally, and Europe, the worst-affected region in the world, reports one million new infections roughly every four days.
AstraZeneca chief executive said the European Union’s late decision to contract with the drugmaker to provide COVID-19 vaccines meant the company didn’t have enough time to iron out setting up of production lines.
“Stock markets are mixed, even with a positive earnings season in the US amid fears over vaccine deployment and production capacity,” said Sebastien Galy, macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management in a note.
“Signs of foam abound, but we haven’t gotten a clear trigger in the growth style yet.”
Drugmaker Evotec and battery maker Varta rallied for a second session on market talks that Melvin Capital Management was forced to unwind its short positions after some of its investments deteriorated.
Little or no changes to the US Fed’s policy statement are expected and no new economic forecasts are expected, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is likely to renew his commitment to a ultra-easy monetary policy.
The French luxury group LVMH grew by 1.2%, the boom in sales of fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, especially in China, helping to cushion the impact of the pandemic.
Kering, owner of Gucci, gained 1.6%.
European profits remained broadly positive, with analysts forecasting a 24% drop in fourth-quarter profit for companies listed on the STOXX 600, slightly better than a 26% drop forecast a week ago, according to data from Refnitiv IBES.
Danish medical device maker Ambu jumped 14.3% after optimistic quarterly results, while German health technology company Siemens Healthineers gained 3% after raising its sales and profit outlook for 2021.
Shares of French shopping center operators Klepierre and Unibail jumped 13.7% and 10.2%, respectively, after comments from a government minister allayed concerns about a third nationwide lockdown.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Arun Koyyur