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MarketPulse Europe: Ryanair Drags Airlines Down; Brexit Looms Over U.K.

Investing.com - Europe’s stock markets headed lower in early trade on Monday, as weak earnings and concerns about a slowing economy again dominated the headlines.

Low-cost airline Ryanair dragged airline stocks down by saying it swung to a 22 million euro ($25 million) loss in the fourth quarter due to excess capacity that depressed revenues. EasyJet followed it lower and was the worst-performing stock in the FTSE 100, down 4.4% by 04:40 AM ET (09:40 GMT). Air France-KLM and Lufthansa also fell more than 1%, but Wizz Air – one of Ryanair’s low-cost rivals – held up better, rising 0.2%.

The benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 index was down 0.1% at 3,167.85.

Europe underperformed the U.S. on Friday after economic data showed weakness in most of the continent’s bigger economies – in particular, confirming that Italy entered its third recession in a decade at the end of 2018.

The U.K. construction PMI for January on Monday also missed forecasts, while Nissan’s decision at the weekend not to build its new X-Trail SUV in the U.K. highlighted again the economic risks of Brexit.

In Germany, payments company Wirecard rebounded after it rebutted a Financial Times report questioning its accounting practices.

Wirecard said an external investigation found no signs of irregular accounting but noted that the investigation wasn’t yet complete. The shares rose over 15% but are still down nearly 30% from last week.

Earlier, Sony revived concerns about the outlook for Big Tech by warning of weaker sales ahead for its chips and image sensors due to the worsening outlook for the smartphone sector. Its shares fell some 9% in Tokyo.

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