European equities edged down Wednesday, with a weak start to the second quarter reporting season from the auto and luxury sectors denting sentiment, but technical support levels putting a lid on any losses in thin and jittery summer holiday trading.
Burberry Group was the biggest faller among the blue chips, shedding 7.9 percent and dragging down other luxury goods stocks such as French rival LVMH after the maker of checked raincoats, hit by its performance in China, reported a slowdown in sales growth.
There was also bad news for carmakers, with a drop in sales and a cautious outlook from Renault, and for industrials, with a profit warning from U.S. engine maker Cummins hitting a number of European companies.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped two points to 1,339 and the Nasdaq lost 17 points to 2,885. Both the Dow and S&P are headed for their fifth straight day of losses. That’s the worst stretch for both indexes since a six-day losing streak that ended May 19.
“People are getting concerned about the health of earnings as markets are very sensitive to profit warnings,” said James Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed down 0.1 percent at 1,038.50 points, its losses limited by technical support at the 100-day moving average around 1,033.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies remain virtually unchanged at 5,664.48 points.
In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 gained 0.24 percent to 6,453.85 points while in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.57 percent to 3,157.25
Some investors were also unwilling to chase the market too low ahead of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee minutes, due after the European close, which have the potential to boost risk appetite if they hint at a third round of quantitative easing.
In late morning trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped two points to 1,339 and the Nasdaq lost 17 points to 2,885.