Tuesday 25 October 2016

European shares extend losses as ECB measures disappoint

Published 04/12/2015 | 08:27

Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. Photo: Reuters
Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. Photo: Reuters

European shares fell on Friday, extending steep losses from the previous session when the European Central Bank's new stimulus measures disappointed some investors, with bearish broker updates hurting companies such as Sandvik and Whitbread.

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Sandvik fell 3.1 percent after JP Morgan cut its rating on the engineering company to "underweight" from "neutral" and lowered its target price for the stock.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.2 percent at 1,460.13 points by 0928 GMT, a day after slumping 3.3 percent to record its biggest one-day fall since late August after the ECB's policy update fell short of high expectations.

The ECB cut its deposit rate deeper into negative territory and extended its asset buys by six months -- widely anticipated moves that some investors considered the bare minimum after the bank had for weeks stoked expectations of stimulus moves.

"In an environment where you were expecting central banks to pump in more liquidity and you don't get it, then investors are just reassessing their expectations of what central banks are going to deliver for them," Peter Dixon, economist at Commerzbank, said.

"Equity valuations look pretty stretched given what's happening to the underlying economy. We could expect choppy moves in the remaining weeks of the year."

Bearish broker notes hit shares of some companies. Whitbread shares dropped 2.6 percent after Barclays cut its stance on the stock to "equal weight" from "overweight" and lowered its price target to 5,200 pence from 5,800 pence.

Barclays said it downgraded the leisure group to reflect a slower growth in UK RevPAR (revenue per available room), deteriorating leading indicators and reduced corporate capex expectations.

"We now consider the shares to be more 'fairly valued' than 'cheap' on a 12-month view," Barclays analysts said in a note.

On the positive side, insurer AXA rose 4.2 percent after setting a range for its solvency ratio under the European industry's new capital rules, which AXA said would allow it to pay higher dividends and invest in growing its business


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