European markets edge lower as political issues take center stage; WPP falls over 5%

European markets edge lower as political issues take center stage; WPP falls over 5%

Europe’s food and beverages stocks were some of the worst performers amid earnings news. Marine Harvest‘s plans to operate an experimental fish farm to produce salmon was rejected by Norwegian regulators on Monday. This news followed weaker-than-expected earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) during the first three months of the year. Shares of Marine Harvest slipped almost 1 percent by the close. A number of London-listed consumer groups also closed deep in the red, on the back of a weaker FTSE 100.

Meanwhile, travel and leisure stocks managed to hold onto its gains by the close, after shares of Britain’s biggest hotel and coffee shop operator surged to the top of the European benchmark. A unit of U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management said it now held the largest stake in Whitbread, Reuters reported. The news prompted its shares to jump more than 7 percent in trade.

Looking at individual stocks, WPP shares — which have already fallen around 30 percent this year — fell 6.5 percent by Monday’s close. The world’s biggest advertising agency saw its CEO Martin Sorrell quit on Saturday amid allegations of personal misconduct.

Software slipped over 6 percent, despite the company saying it was more confident on sales prospects for its core database unit over the coming six months, Reuters reported. Credit Suisse and Independent Research also cut their price targets on the stock. The news comes shortly after the company released preliminary results late Friday.

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