Europe stocks extend declines in shadow of Middle East tensions; Ericsson up 8%, Dr Martens plunges 30%

Europe stocks extend declines in shadow of Middle East tensions; Ericsson up 8%, Dr Martens plunges 30%

Dr Martens shares plunge 30% to all-time low, trading halted

Dr. Martens is a brand of footwear known for its yellow stitching and patented air-cushioned soles. The brand was adopted by British punk rockers in the 1970s, but went mainstream during the grunge movement of the 1990s.

Shares of Dr Martens plunged 30% to a record low in early deals after the shoemaker issued an unscheduled trading update in which it flagged a challenging 2025 outlook and said its 2024 full-year results would be in line with estimates.

Trading in the company shares was temporarily suspended on the London Stock Exchange.

The firm also said CEO Kenny Wilson would step down in March 2025 and be replaced by Chief Brand Officer Ije Nwokorie.

In a Tuesday note, analysts at RBC flagged a negative sentiment on the stock and said markets would focus on the 2025 guidance in the short term.

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Dr Martens share price

UK employment rate falls as wage growth remains robust

A staff wanted sign in the window of a restaurant in the Soho district of London, U.K., on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The U.K. employment rate fell through December and January, to 74.5% from 74.8% in the prior measured period, figures released by the national statistics office showed.

Unemployment rose for a third reading to 4.2%, up from 3.9% a year ago.

Wage growth excluding bonuses was 6% between December 2023 and February 2024, down slightly from 6.1% from November 2023 to January 2024 but higher than the reading expected by economists polled by Reuters of 5.8%.

“Overall, if it wasn’t for the clear weakening in activity in the labour market we’d be a bit worried that the UK’s disinflation process is grinding to a halt like in the US,” Paul Dales, chief U.K. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

“But with employment falling sharply and the unemployment rate climbing, we suspect wage growth will continue to ease in the coming months. That may allow the Bank to cut interest rates in June, even if the Fed doesn’t move until September.”

— Jenni Reid

Ericsson posts profit beat

People visit the Ericsson stand during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2019 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center on June 25, 2019 in Shanghai, China.

VCG | Getty Images

Swedish telecom firm Ericsson on Monday reported operating profit excluding restructuring charges of 4.3 billion Swedish kronor ($393.8 million), up 7% year on year and well ahead of analyst expectations in an LGEG poll of 1.7 billion kronor.

Organic sales fell 14%, with a 19% decline in its networks unit, which includes its 5G services.

The company said there’s potential for sales to stabilize in the second half of the year in light of recent contract gains and the normalization of inventory levels in North America.

CEO Börje Ekholm told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” the company was focusing on its cost position and making sure it had a competitive product, which lay behind its decision announced last month to lay off around 1,200 workers.

Ekholm also said Ericsson was using artificial intelligence to help its complex 5G networks run better.

— Jenni Reid

Nasdaq Composite slides below its 50-day moving average, a first since November

The major indexes resumed their sell-off on Monday, and the Nasdaq Composite slipped below its 50-day moving average as the index dropped about 1.7%.

It was the first time the tech-heavy index slid below this key threshold since Nov. 3, 2023. If it closes below that level, it will be a first since Nov. 2, 2023. The index is up more than 30% in the past 12 months.

The 50-day moving average is a technical indicator that traders watch to assess short-term trading trends. A close below this level could signal an upcoming downtrend for an asset.

Darla Mercado, Nick Wells

CNBC Pro: These 10 oil stocks are the most — and least — sensitive to price swings amid Iran-Israel tensions

Crude oil prices have been volatile in April amid heightened geopolitical risks.

CNBC Pro screened for stocks in the MSCI World Energy Index that are both highly correlated and inversely correlated with international benchmark Brent crude oil prices over the past week, month, and year.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

The oil market shrugged Iran’s attack. What happens next depends on Israel

An Israeli Sikorsky helicopter is flying near Ashkelon as an Oil Rig is seen at the background, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Israel, November 14, 2023.

Amir Cohen | Reuters

The oil market on Monday shrugged off Iran’s weekend air assault against Israel with U.S. crude and the global benchmark both settling slightly lower.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for May lost 25 cents, or 0.29%, to settle at $85.41 a barrel. June Brent futures fell 35 cents, or 0.39%, to settle at $90.10 a barrel.

The market had already priced in the risk from an attack Iran had telegraphed for days beforehand, and traders breathed a sigh of relief after Israel and the U.S. intercepted nearly all the missiles fired.

What happens next depends on how Israel decides to respond.

“What is not priced into the current market, in our view, is a potential continuation of a direct conflict between Iran and Israel,” Maximilian Layton, head of commodities research at Citi, told clients in a note. Oil prices could spike above $100 a barrel depending on how Israel responds to the attack, the analyst wrote.

— Spencer Kimball

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley names global ‘alpha’ stock ideas for April — and gives one over 30% upside

Asian markets have had a mixed start to the year — with investors looking keenly at India, Japan and increasingly China.

Looking ahead, those searching for pockets of opportunities in the region can look to Morgan Stanley’s selection of “alpha” stocks. Alpha stocks refer to those with the ability to beat the market.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are set to open lower Tuesday.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 87 points lower at 7,888, Germany’s DAX down 214 points at 17,784, France’s CAC 96 points lower at 7,938 and Italy’s FTSE MIB down 422 points at 32,870, according to data from IG. 

Earnings are set to come from Ericsson and LVMH. Germany’s ZEW survey of economic sentiment will be released.

— Holly Ellyatt


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