European Markets Finish Mostly Lower In Lackluster Trade

The majority of the European markets ended Friday’s session with small losses. The markets were locked in a narrow sideways trend throughout the session. Investors were reluctant to make any major moves ahead of a crucial vote on U.S. healthcare reform.

The vote was expected to take place Thursday evening, but House Republican leaders delayed a vote on the bill amid indications of a lack of support. However, President Donald Trump has demanded that the vote go forward today.

If a vote on the replacement of Obamacare fails, it could cast doubt on Trump’s ability to deliver on promises of increased infrastructure spending, tax cuts and deregulation.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 0.20 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 0.23 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, lost 0.31 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 0.20 percent, but the CAC 40 of France fell 0.24 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. declined 0.05 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 0.17 percent.

In Frankfurt, Merck KgaA climbed 1.47 percent after the U.S. FDA approved BAVENCIO or avelumab Injection 20 mg/mL, for intravenous use, for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma.

RWE increased 1.84 percent and E.ON added 1.40 percent.

In Paris, Bollore rose 0.71 percent as the transportation company offered Blue Solutions’ shareholders an option to sell their shares at a price of EUR 17 per share.

In London, engineering firm Smiths Group advanced 2.89 percent after its first-half results beat forecasts.

Telecom Italia gained 0.07 percent in Milan after the company swung back to profit in 2016 from a net loss of 70 million euros the previous year.

Eurozone private sector activity expanded at the fastest pace in almost six years in March, amid robust new orders and employment growth in both manufacturing and service sectors. The composite output…

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