Saturday 22 July 2017

European stocks fall on China slowdown fears

Investors look at a computer screen in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Fuyang, Anhui province, China. Photo: Reuters
Investors look at a computer screen in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Fuyang, Anhui province, China. Photo: Reuters

European stocks succumbed to fears of a slowing Chinese economy, with its exporters leading the losses.

By mid-afternoon yesterday, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1pc at 2:32pm in London, giving up two days of gains.

Its carmakers and chemical companies fell more than 1.8pc, while commodity producers headed for their lowest close since 2009.

By the same stage in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 0.8pc, or 52.73 points, to 6534.93.

The mid-afternoon leaders on the Dublin market included Glanbia, which rose 1pc to €18.27 as the company reported total group revenue of €1.9bn for the first half of the year.

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa was up 0.7pc to €27.94.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included building materials group CRH, which was down 1.5pc to €27.46, while insulation group Kingspan was down 0.8pc to €22.92.

Elsewhere, Glencore tumbled 8.3pc to a record low after the miner posted a slump in profit. Peugeot Citroen and Daimler lost more than 2pc, while BASF fell 2.2pc.

"It will be interesting to see at what point investors step in," said Nick Lawson, the London-based global co-head of macro at Deutsche Bank.

"The likes of autos, industrials and chemicals will catch up and we saw that in the moves post the PBOC intervention last week as the market moves away from growth and deflation towards income."

Since the People's Bank of China devalued the yuan, investors wary of its effect on demand for goods from commodities to cars have sent the Stoxx 600 down 3.9pc.

Germany's DAX Index, which closed yesterday below its 200-day moving average for the first time since January, slid another 1.5pc. Lanxess dropped the most, sinking 5.8pc as Exane BNP Paribas said the maker of synthetic rubber could be replaced by Deutsche Annington Immobilien in the

Meanwhile, German stock gauge Deutsche Annington climbed 0.9pc.

Riskier assets are also coming under pressure as the Federal Reserve moves closer to its first rate increase since 2006.

Minutes of the central bank's July meeting were due yesterday after the close of European trading.

Among stocks moving on corporate news, Carlsberg tumbled 10pc after the world's fourth-biggest brewer reported second-quarter profit that missed estimates, and forecast a drop in annual profit. Sydbank lost 4.5pc after posting net income that fell short of projections.

Swisscom dropped 1.9pc after second-quarter revenue missed projections.

Bucking the trend, Greece's ASE Index advanced 0.4pc after Germany's parliament voted in favour of an aid package for the Mediterranean nation of as much as €86bn. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

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