By Investors Hub
European stocks have fallen on Wednesday as the dollar index dropped below the 90.00 threshold for the first time since December amid increasing investor concern over protectionist trade policies from President Donald Trump.
The euro hit a fresh three-year peak as investors looked ahead to Thursday’s ECB meeting for clues on the outlook for monetary policy.
Meanwhile, the pound hovered near its highest level since the U.K.’s Brexit referendum in June 2016 after unexpectedly strong U.K. employment data.
Data from the Office for National Statistics showed today that the U.K. jobless rate held steady at 4.3 percent in the three months to November, the same rate as in three months to August and the lowest level seen since 1975.
Separately, Eurozone private sector activity expanded at the fastest pace in nearly 12 years in January, flash data from IHS Markit showed as an acceleration of service sector growth to the fastest since August 2007 was partly countered by a slowdown in manufacturing output growth.
The composite output index unexpectedly rose to 58.6 in January from 58.1 in December. The expected reading was 57.9.
While the U.K.?s FTSE 100 Index has fallen by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
Ahold Delhaize shares have fallen sharply after the Dutch supermarkets and eCommerce company reported muted growth in fourth-quarter sales at constant exchange rates.
Marks and Spencer Group has also dropped to extend losses after announcing plans to close its London distribution center.
Suez shares have slumped after the utility lowered its 2017 earnings targets, citing costs related to political instability in Spain.
On the positive side, Novartis has rallied after its 2017 sales and profits topped forecasts. Danish business conglomerate Maersk has also jumped on reports that it is seeking a partner for its drilling unit.
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