Tuesday, February 27, 2024

European markets muted as global stocks search for new highs

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The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 13, 2023.

Staff | Reuters

LONDON — European stocks were little changed on Thursday as global markets search for new record highs to close out the year.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index hovered around the flatline by mid-morning, with health care stocks adding 0.5% while oil and gas stocks dropped 0.6%.

The continental blue chip index was last trading around the 478.66 mark, not far below the index’s record closing high of 483.44 notched in November 2021.

Stateside, U.S. stock futures were little changed in early premarket trade after another day of modest gains on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 benchmark also closing in on a record high.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher overnight, with markets in mainland China and Hong Kong leading gains and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 hovering near a two-year high. Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix bucked the trend to post slight declines.

Trading volumes are expected to be thin during the last two days of the trading year, with fewer data points on the economic calendar and all major central bank meetings out of the way.

In terms of individual share price movement in Europe, Spanish utility company Endesa fell 3% in early trade to the bottom of the Stoxx 600, while Danish biotech Zealand Pharma gained 3% to lead the index.

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