FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Staff
March 20, 2019
(Reuters) – European shares retreated from near six-month highs on Wednesday, with German stocks leading losses as chemicals producer Bayer sank 10 percent following another U.S. court verdict on weed killer Roundup’s link to cancer.
With eyes on a U.S. Federal Reserve statement and news conference later in the day, and Asian markets broadly lower, the pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3 percent as investors booked profits after five sessions of gains.
The Fed is expected to hold interest rates steady and release long-awaited details of a plan to end the monthly reduction of its massive balance sheet. [FRX/]
Although unchanged rates have been priced in, investors will be watching to see if the Fed’s dot plot, the diagram which shows individual committee members’ rate views for the coming three years, aligns with the patient approach the Fed has expressed.
A 0.7 percent loss for Germany’s DAX was also driven by a pullback in car producers after the sector’s best day in more than three months — a 2.4 percent jump — on Tuesday.
The unanimous verdict by a San Francisco jury against Bayer, one of Germany’s biggest global names, came eight months after another jury issued a $289 million verdict over similar claims against glyphosate-based Roundup in a different case.
Also weighing on the DAX was Munich Re, down 1.3 percent after it issued a cautious profit outlook.
London’s FTSE lost 0.2 percent, weighed down by a 2 percent fall in resources stocks across Europe.
Inmarsat shares gained 16 percent after it received a cash takeover offer from a private equity-led consortium, a deal that would value the British satellite company at about $3.3 billion and take it private.
(Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh and Patrick Graham; Editing by Catherine Evans)