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Eurofins Scientific shares down 14%

Shares of Eurofins Scientific were down 13.9% by mid-afternoon after the company reported worse-than-expected earnings and a weak outlook for 2023.

The drop in share price is the largest since January 2022, when the company was down 18.4%.

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Chart to show share price of Eurofins Scientific.

The French laboratory testing service said the drop in revenue could be attributed to decreased demand for its Covid-19-related services, inflationary headwinds, strike-related impacts and supply chain issues triggered by the war in Ukraine.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

U.S. markets open lower

U.S. equities fell on Wednesday, the first day of March, as traders struggled to recover their footing following a losing month and bond yields continued their climb.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 60 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 added 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.1%.

German inflation higher than expected in February

German inflation is expected to have risen to 8.7% in February, according to the German Federal Statistics Office.

The rate would sit 0.8% higher than in January, according to the preliminary data.

February’s EU-harmonized rate for consumer prices increased to 9.3% year-on-year, above the 9% forecast by economists polled by Reuters. Harmonized inflation was at 9.2% in January.

The rate remains well above the European Central Bank’s 2% target and follows the hotter-than-expected February inflation figures from France and Spain.

“It seems to be the case that inflation is very stubborn, so it looks like that inflation will remain on a very high level,” Joachim Nagel, President of Deutsche Bundesbank told CNBC’s Annette Weisbach Wednesday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index eased slightly on the announcement, but was flat by 1.30 p.m. London time.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Slowing growth is still a significant downside risk to stocks, Morgan Stanley says

Slowing growth is still a significant downside risk to stocks, Morgan Stanley says

Andrew Sheets, chief cross-asset strategist at Morgan Stanley, discusses recent economic data out of the U.K., Europe and the U.S., and the potential risks to stock markets.

Aston Martin shares surge on higher profit forecast

Shares of Aston Martin Lagonda were up 14% at 10:30 a.m in London after the British luxury carmaker said it expected “significant growth in profitability compared to 2022.”

It said this would come from an increase in volumes and higher gross margin in its “core” and “special” vehicles.

The company more than doubled year-on-year pretax losses to £495 million ($598 million) in 2022, from £213.8 million in 2021, in part due to a hit from the weakening of the British pound against the U.S. dollar.

Read more here.

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Aston Martin Lagonda share price.

Inflation a big part of our challenge in 2022 gross margins: Alcon CEO

Inflation a big part of our challenge in 2022 gross margins: Alcon CEO

Alcon CEO David Endicott discusses the company’s fourth-quarter results.

France manufacturing PMI falls but Italy and Spain more positive

French manufacturing output and new orders fell sharply in February, purchasing managers’ index figures showed, despite the return to growth seen in January.

Joe Hayes, senior economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said the sector appeared to be losing momentum, particularly in export demand, though delivery delays were easing.

In Spain, manufacturing PMI showed moderate expansion, with the decline in new orders slowing and factory production increasing.

Italy also saw growth, with a significant rise in output and a return to growth in new orders.

— Jenni Reid

Europe markets open slightly higher

Europe’s Stoxx 600 index moved from a narrow loss to a 0.2% gain shortly after the open, as it looks to regain momentum after a sluggish February.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.55% as gains at firms including Anglo American and Antofagasta drove the European mining sector 3% higher.

Germany’s DAX gained 0.33% and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.3%.

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Stoxx 600 index.

Euronext withdraws $5.8 billion Allfunds offer; shares up 6%

Euronext, the pan-European stock exchange operator, announced it would withdraw an indicative offer for 100% of the share capital of investment platform Allfunds.

Shares of Euronext were up 6% at 8:20 a.m. in London following the overnight announcement.

The operator of bourses in Paris, Amsterdam and Milan submitted a preliminary offer for Allfunds on Feb 22.

It did not provide further reasons for the withdrawal, though a source told Reuters that “inadequacy in terms of lack of synergies,” a fall in Euronext’s share price since the offer and uncertainty over timing and financing were factors. The anonymous source further told Reuters Allfunds had been set to reject the offer.

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UK house prices post annual decline for first time since 2020

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U.K. house prices fell by 1.1% annually in February, according to a widely watched report from building society Nationwide, the first year-on-year decline since June 2020.

Prices were down 0.5% on the previous month, with the average, non-seasonally adjusted price of a house falling from £258,297 ($311, 800) to £257,406.

“The recent run of weak house price data began with the financial market turbulence in response to the mini-Budget at the end of September last year,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist. “While financial market conditions normalized some time ago, housing market activity has remained subdued.”

A combination of lost confidence and the wider cost of living crisis will continue to weigh on the market, he said, while inflation is continuing to outpace wage growth and mortgage rates are higher.

Analysts have forecast house price declines for the year of 10% to as much as 30% in one scenario.

— Jenni Reid

CNBC Pro: Is ChatGPT the tip of the iceberg? Analysts reveal potential A.I. uses — and the stocks to play it

The success of ChatGPT has captured the imagination of the public — and the attention of investors. But HSBC says the chatbot could be the tip of the artificial intelligence iceberg.

So what’s next for AI? Wall Street analysts reveal its potential and name several stocks to play the emerging space.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

UBS says Fed’s rate hikes are creating “downside risks” for markets

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate hikes have weighed on equity markets, according to UBS Financial Services. 

“We judge that the economy is in late-cycle, with the Fed continuing to hike rates and growth likely to slow. Tighter policy creates downside risks for markets,” UBS senior U.S. economist Brian Rose wrote in a note to clients on Monday. 

The firm anticipates the S&P 500 will finish the year close to current levels, with better upside potential in cyclical markets outside of the U.S., specifically in emerging markets and Germany. 

“We prefer value over growth,” Rose wrote. 

According to Rose, financial conditions have not tightened in line with the Fed’s rate hikes. The Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points on February 1, and suggested there will be further rate hikes in the months ahead.

— Pia Singh

CNBC Pro: Top investors share 3 tips for buying stocks in this turbulent market

Stock market this year may defy March’s usual history of positive gains

March is most often a positive month for the stock market, but this year it may bring more of the same turbulence that rattled investors in February.

Stocks are set to exit February with steep losses, with the S&P 500 down 2.3% for the month through Monday. The index is still up 3.7% for the year so far.

“February is the second worst month of the year, posting an average decline of 0.21%, which is the second worst after September,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. “However, March on average posts a gain of 1.1%, rising 64% of the time.” March is the fifth-best month for the S&P 500, according to CFRA data going back to 1945.

For more, read the full story on CNBC Pro.

— Patti Domm, Tanaya Macheel

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are heading for a lower open on Thursday as investors gauge the regional and global economic outlook.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 24 points lower at 7,909, Germany’s DAX 27 points lower at 15,623, France’s CAC down 14 points at 7,316 and Italy’s FTSE MIB down 2 points at 27,902, according to data from IG.

Earnings come from Aviva, Domino’s Pizza, Hugo Boss and Deutsche Post.

— Holly Ellyatt