European markets close mixed amid earnings; Iliad shares slump 19%

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.1 percent higher provisionally, with major bourses and sectors pointing in different directions.

Europe’s oil and gas sector led the gains, climbing throughout the afternoon to close up nearly 1 percent. Oil prices themselves recently hit multi-year highs following strong global demand, tension in the Middle East and uncertainty about output from major exporter Iran. OPEC has reported that the global oil glut has virtually been eliminated.

Financial services also performed well, closing up 0.9 percent. British firm Hargreaves Landsown topped the sector to close up almost 2.5 percent. According to Reuters, the company’s total assets grew 3.1 percent in the first quarter of this year on strong client demand.

Meanwhile, telecoms stocks led the losses, closing off by over 1.9 percent amid earnings news. French telecommunications firm Iliad slumped to the bottom of the benchmark after it reported earnings that missed expectations. Shares of the company closed 19.5 percent lower — touching their lowest level since late 2013 — after a weak performance in its landline business in the first quarter.

Vodafone was also trading lower after the world’s second-largest mobile operator reported its long-time CEO is poised to step down in October. Vittorio Colao is set to be replaced by Nick Read, the company’s finance director since 2014. The firm’s shares closed 4.3 percent down on the news.

Europe’s banking sector bounced back from slight losses earlier on in the afternoon, closing up 0.3 percent. Raiffeisen Bank, Commerzbank and Credit Agricole posted their latest figures earlier in the day, with all three lenders near the top of the sector amid better-than-expected earnings over the first three months of 2018.

Looking at individual stocks, ThyssenKrupp posted earnings in line with expectations but higher cost savings and lower IT spending appeared to mask a surprise loss at the company’s ailing Industrial Solutions business. Its shares closed 6.5 percent in the red.

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