Europe midday: Stocks lower on geopolitical worries


LONDON (ShareCast) - - Intensifying violence in Iraq
- US to lift 40-year export ban on oil products
- Basic resource and oil stocks move lower
- German consumer confidence slightly ahead of forecasts

FTSE 100: -0.62%
DAX: -0.38%
CAC 40: -0.63%
FTSE MIB: -0.03%
IBEX 35: -0.61%
Stoxx 600: -0.64%

European stocks were holding modestly lower come midday, weighed down by reports of intensifying violence in Iraq and overnight losses on Wall Street.

Acting as a backdrop, the US may be preparing new sanctions against specific sector of Russia's economy, including energy technology.

To take note of, fixed income markets were apparently benefiting from haven flows, while market commentary was highlighting weakness in emerging market currencies.

Oil futures, however, continued to be lower on news that the US is set to lift a four decade ban on the export of oil products.

Intensifying violence in Iraq

Reports cite US intelligence as indicating that the Islamist radicals which just two weeks ago took over Mosul are now consolidating their hold over large swathes of the country.

In parallel, and in what amounts to a worrisome development, according to The Wall Street Journal Syrian air raids inside the country's borders have killed at least 50 people. Furthermore, militants are said to have attacked one of Iraq's largest air bases, located just 100 kilometres from Baghdad.

Brent crude futures slipped 0.545% to the $113.84/barrel on the ICE.

Basic resources and oil head lower

European regulators may be set to slap Philips (Amsterdam: PHIA.AS - news) , Samsung Electronics and Infineon (Xetra: 623100 - news) with a fine over the alleged fixing of prices for the SIM cards which make cell phones work, according to two persons familiar with the matter cited by Reuters.

France will sell a 3.1% stake in gas giant GDF Suez (TLO: GAZ-U.TI - news) to help fund the purchase of a stake in engineering group Alstom (Paris: FR0010220475 - news) .

Spanish investment outfit Corporacion Financiera Alba has offloaded a 3.7% stake in construction outfit ACS (Madrid: ACS.MC - news) for €398m, reducing its holdings to 11.3% of the company's equity.

From a sector stand-point the largest losses are now being seen in the following industrial sectors within the DJ Stoxx 600: Media (-1.32%), Basic resources (-1.25%), Utilities (-1.13%).

Confidence moves lower in France and Italy

GfK (Frankfurt: GFK.F - news) 's consumer confidence index for Germany in the month of June remained unchanged at 8.6 points (consensus: 8.5).

ISTAT's headline Italian consumer confidence index slipped to 105.7 in June from a reading of 106.2 for the prior month.

Italian retail sales expanded at a 0.4% month-on-month clip in April (consensus: 0%).

INSEE's French business climate indicator dropped two points to 92 while consensus was expecting no change. That reading was the lowest since August of last year.

Crude futures slip lower

The euro/dollar is flat at $1.3600.

Front month Brent crude futures are now off by 0.545% to the $113.84/barrel mark on the ICE.


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