LONDON, March 30 European shares struggled for
direction in early deals on Thursday as investors mulled
implications of Britain formally beginning the process of
leaving the European Union the day before.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat in
percentage terms, with regional indexes trading flat to slightly
The reaction to Britain formally triggering the Brexit
process on Wednesday was fairly muted from European shares, with
the FTSE 100 index also ending higher as sterling
weakened. The FTSE 100 traded 0.1 percent higher on Thursday.
As Britain embarked on a path of tough negotiations, all
eyes turned to the government's White Paper, in which it will
set out plans to convert European Union laws into domestic
A rise in oil stocks lent support, with the sector
gaining 0.7 percent as crude prices ticked higher.
Broker upgrades also helped the top gainers, with Ashtead
up 2.8 percent after Liberum began their coverage of the
stock with a "buy" rating, and shares in Dixons Carphone
were also boosted after Barclays began with an "overweight"
UK grocer Morrison's also rose 2.1 percent, while
retailer H&M gained 1.3 percent after posting a smaller
than expected fall in pretax profit for its fiscal first quarter
and said that it would launch a new separate brand in the second
half of the year.
Autos were the biggest sectoral faller, down 1.2
percent and led lower by a fall in Daimler's shares,
which traded without entitlement to its latest dividend payout.
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Alison Williams)