Europe stocks struggle, with FTSE 100 dragged by pound strength

Europe stocks struggle, with FTSE 100 dragged by pound strength

Amer Sports Oyj surges on deal talk

European stocks struggled for traction on Tuesday, with weakness notable for the FTSE 100 as Brexit-deal hopes continued to push the British pound higher.

What are markets doing?
The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.28% was flat at 375.66, after a gain of 0.4% on Monday. The index dropped 2.2% last week, and is down nearly 3.5% year-to-date.

Germany’s DAX 30 DAX, -0.52% flattened to 11,990.34, while France’s CAC 40 PX1, -0.18% added 0.1% to 5,275.13. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, -0.52% was down 0.4% to 7,251.52.

The euro EURUSD, -0.0604% rose to $1.16384 from $1.1594 late Monday in New York, while the pound GBPUSD, +0.0691% bought $1.3066, up from $1.3025.

What is driving the market?
The pound shot higher Monday on hopes that a Brexit deal could be agreed to within six to eight weeks, with that action continuing into Tuesday’s session. A stronger pound can weigh on the FTSE 100, as the index’s multinational companies generate most of their sales in other currencies.

This Brexit timeline estimate came from European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier at a conference in Slovenia and helped soothe investor fears that the U.K. could part ways with Europe’s big trade bloc in March 2019 without an agreement in place. But Barnier also said several issues still needed to be worked out.

European stocks generally struggled as investors continued to look for catalysts that could drive the market higher. On the trade front, EU and U.S. negotiators met Monday to talk over a pact that would avoid a trans-Atlantic spat. While no major breakthrough was seen, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said they would meet up again by the end of September and begin hammering out a deal in the coming months.

U.S. stock futures indicated a flat start for Wall Street stocks as well, after the S&P 500 SPX, +0.19% and Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.27% indexes snapped a four-day losing streak on Monday as tech stocks halted a slide.

Stock movers
Amer Sports Oyj AMEAS, +27.37% was the biggest gainer in the Stoxx Europe 600, jumping nearly 12% after the sporting goods company said it has received a nonbinding preliminary indication of interest from Hong Kong-based Anta Sports Products Limited 2020, -1.88% and Asian private-equity firm FountainVest Partners.

Shares in Ashtead Group PLC AHT, -2.34% jumped nearly 3% after the industrial equipment rental company said it would expand its share-buyback program after posting a 20% gain for first-quarter pretax profit.

ArcelorMittal SA MT, -2.74% slipped 3%. The steel manufacturer reportedly lifted its offer for India’s Essar Steel India Ltd. to about 420 billion rupees ($5.8 billion), according to Bloomberg, which cited sources.

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