StockBeat: China Data Lift Markets After Daimler Blow

July 12
21:04 2019

By Geoffrey Smith — Europe’s stock markets were mostly higher after early trading in the region Friday, as reassuring economic data out of China helped to offset an earlier blow to confidence from German automaker Daimler .

Markets turned higher after figures showing that Chinese exports fell less than expected in June. New loans also came in slightly lower than expected, easing fears that the authorities were relying on an excessive buildup of credit to soften the impact of the trade war with the U.S.

Further support came as industrial production data for the euro zone came in slightly stronger than expected.

Despite that – and despite multiple signals from the Federal Reserve about its intention to ease monetary policy in the near future – markets are on course to end the week lower. That’s in sharp contrast to the U.S., where both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 hit new record highs on the back of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress.

As of 5 AM ET (0900 GMT), the benchmark Stoxx 600 was up 0.2% at 387.52, but still down 0.7% for the week. The U.K. FTSE 100 was up 0.3% and the French CAC 40 led the way with a 0.5% gain.

However, Germany’s Dax lagged, flat on the day and down nearly 2% on the week after Daimler (DE:DAIGn), the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, announced yet another profit warning, its second in less than a month. The company said that its latest assessment of its legal liabilities due to the diesel emissions scandal, along with various issues affecting van sales, meant that it would report a loss of around 1.6 billion euros in the second quarter, and that full-year earnings would be significantly below last year’s. The company had previously guided for 2019 profits to be broadly the same as last year’s.

Daimler’s shares fell 3% at the opening, testing a six-year low, but recovered on the Chinese data to be down only 1.0%. However, they remained the clear underperformer in the sector across Europe.

There was more encouraging news from Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p), which announced a $ 2.6 billion investment in Ford Motor’s autonomous vehicle business Argo. The investment is the latest evidence of how the world’s biggest auto groups are teaming up to share the costs of developing self-driving cars, one of the two mega-trends looming over the industry. VW’s preferred shares rose 1.2% in early trading.

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