European markets traded slightly to the down side in early trading after a round of weak earnings from across the globe and China’s manufacturing activity failed to meet expectations, highlighting weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.
Glencore cut its 2019 copper output target following severe flooding in Australia, while Whitbread warned of weak capacity for revenue growth in the UK. Both stocks fell by almost 3% as of 9.45am local time. Pub operator Greene King (GNK.L) on the FTSE also cratered by nearly 6%.
However there was one bright spot on the FTSE — Standard Chartered (STN.L). Shares in the UK-based bank, which does most of its business in Asia, soared to nine-month highs after hailing its turnaround progress with its $1bn buyback plan.
Meanwhile, other banks placed pressure on European markets. Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) cut its 2019 outlook amid being caught up in a money-laundering scandal, sending shares down about 8%. The eurozone’s biggest bank, Santander (SAN.MC) also fell into the red after first quarter net profit fell by 10%.
However, the standout performer across Europe was Austrian chipmaker AMS — where shares soared to around 20%. The Apple supplier beat forecasts for first-quarter profit and gave a positive outlook for the second quarter.