EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Struggle To Hold Onto 20-month High, Ahead Of Trump Tax Unveiling

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Credit Suisse plans to raise $4 billion in new capital

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European stocks swayed in a tight range Wednesday, with Gucci parent's company a standout among advancers after its earnings report, while investors waited for U.S. President Donald Trump's tax-revamp plan.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was up less than 1 point at 387.03 after dipping to an intraday low of 386.29. Utility, financial and tech shares fell, while consumer services, telecom and oil and gas stocks edged up.

The index on Tuesday rose 0.2% to 386.91 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-snag-modest-gains-after-french-election-rally-2017-04-25), closing at the highest level since August 2015.

Kering SA (KER.FR) topped the Stoxx 600, surging 10% after the owner of the Gucci and Saint Laurent luxury brands said first-quarter revenue surged 31% to 3.57 billion euros (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gucci-owner-kering-revenue-climbs-31-2017-04-25) ($4.07 billion).

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.EB) (CSGN.EB) shares tacked on 2.3%. The lender plans to raise 4 billion Swiss francs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/credit-suisse-to-raise-4-bln-to-drop-swiss-ipo-2017-04-26) ($4.02 billion) in fresh capital and posted a first-quarter profit of 596 million Swiss francs that topped analyst expectations.

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On a broader scale, investors are waiting to hear more about the Trump administration's tax reform and reduction package later Wednesday. His proposal is expected to include cutting the corporate tax rate to 15% from 35% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-15-corporate-tax-rate-could-cost-the-government-2-trillion-2017-04-25).

Equity markets worldwide since November have been bolstered by expectations for Trump-backed tax policies in the U.S., the world's largest economy. But there have also been doubts about implementation of his proposals after Republicans failed in a first bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"The consensus sentiment is that any kind of tax reduction Trump introduces will free up corporate capital for re-investment and this should improve valuations even more, hence the fresh demand for stocks," said Konstantinos Anthis, analyst at ADS Securities, in a note.

"However, if Trump fails to at least provide the broad strokes of his plan, or fails to explain how he plans to pay for these tax deductions, the dollar runs the risk of pulling back again" and pulling gold prices lower, said Anthis.

The euro bought $1.0906, down from $1.0928 late Tuesday in New York.

Stock movers: Daimler AG (DAI.XE) sharply raised its outlook for the year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/daimler-lifts-earnings-outlook-as-profit-doubles-2017-04-26)as the maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars reported net profit doubled. Shares were off 0.5%.

Indexes: In Paris, the CAC 40 was up 0.1% at 5,282.45. The index on Tuesday ended up 0.2% at 5,277.88, its highest close since January 2008.

Germany's DAX 30 was fractionally higher at 12,468.71.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 was off less than 1 point at 7,274.50.

Read:French election relief could pave way for ECB tapering, but not yet (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-election-relief-could-pave-way-for-ecb-tapering-but-not-yet-2017-04-25)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 26, 2017 05:15 ET (09:15 GMT)