European stocks were mixed on Wednesday morning, as investors continued to monitor ongoing political uncertainty.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 opened little changed, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.
Basic resources stocks were the worst performing on Wednesday, down around 0.6 percent amid guidance cuts. South African paper firm, Mondi, reported third-quarter underlying profit had risen 8 percent, citing better-than-expected average selling prices. However, the Johannesburg-listed company said its yearly performance was set to be modestly below market expectations. Its shares were more than 6 percent lower.
Shares of German food-processing machinery company GEA Group surged 8 percent to hit near six-month highs on Wednesday. Hedge fund Elliot revealed a stake in the firm on Tuesday, Reuters reported, sending shares higher.
Provident Financial tumbled to the bottom of the benchmark on Wednesday after Barclays slashed its stock rating to “underweight” from “equal weight”. Its shares were more than 8 percent lower in early morning deals.
The Spanish government is meeting in Madrid on Wednesday in a bid to shore up its response to the Catalan independence movement. Socialist opposition leader Pedro Sanchez is also set to convene with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Spain’s IBEX recovered from losses it sustained in the previous session to trade more than 1 percent higher in early morning deals.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and other leaders in the region yesterday signed a document proclaiming independence from Spain, although they also suspended the move for the coming weeks, following an unofficial referendum earlier this month that led to unrest and a loss of business confidence in the region.
Meanwhile in the U.K., Prime Minister Theresa May is to face opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament for the first time this season. On Tuesday, May said an agreement with the European Union to secure the rights of expats living in the country post-Brexit was “very close.”
Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said at the party’s conference Tuesday that Brexit had strengthened the case for a second independence referendum.
Stateside, U.S. President Donald Trump is in Pennsylvania to discuss his tax reform plan, which involves cutting the rate of corporate tax to 20 percent. Trump said yesterday that his spat with Senator Bob Corker would not impact his bid for a tax overhaul. The U.S. President also met with defense officials yesterday to discuss the nuclear threat from North Korea.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is to release the main chapters of its Global Financial Stability report in Washington D.C., with Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank Jim Yong Kim also set to speak in the U.S. capital ahead of a meeting between the two organizations over the weekend.