European shares fall forward of Powell's speech as banks slide

© Reuters. The DAX chart of the German share index is shown on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange

From Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – Sentiment in European stock markets was cautious on Thursday as investors looked to the monetary outlook from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index () was down 0.3%, with banks () being the largest detractors after HSBC (L 🙂 fell 2.2%. The British bank was again criticized on Wednesday by the US for dealing with clients related to the democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Tech Stocks () continued to win after another record-breaking session on Wall Street. ()

Investors will be looking for clues about the Federal Reserve's new strategy to achieve its price stability and maximum employment targets in a deep economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Powell is scheduled to speak at 1310 GMT.

"It's hard to imagine that Powell will say much more, which is particularly supportive," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. "There will be a speech that might be a high water mark for risk in the short term."

The European Central Bank's chief economist, Philip Lane, will also speak at the Jackson Hole virtual meeting.

The export-heavy German DAX () posted minimal losses as the data showed that Chinese industrial companies' earnings rose for a third straight month in July, at the fastest pace since June 2018.

The automotive sector () was one of the few winners, up 0.7%.

Aside from German manufacturing, the latest data points to a plateau of economic recovery in the euro zone as coronavirus cases pick up again in several countries.

A Reuters poll of fund managers found that European stocks are expected to stall for the remainder of 2020, missing the bull market that drove Wall Street to record highs.

WPP (L :), the world's largest advertising company, rose 4.7% as it resumed its dividend after cutting costs and beating poor retail forecasts in the second quarter by moving to faster ad production.

Smaller rival Publicis (PA 🙂 rose 1.2%.

The German online food company Delivery Hero (DE 🙂 fell by 1.4% after announcing the takeover of the online food service InstaShop.

French conglomerate Bouygues (PA 🙂 rose 3.2% after reporting a lower than expected core operating loss in the first half of the year.

Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt (PA 🙂 (L 🙂 rose 6.1% after a test was started to differentiate between COVID-19 and common winter diseases.

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