Thursday 14 December 2017

European stocks slide on Qatar crisis

A man stands outside Qatar Airways office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Reuters
A man stands outside Qatar Airways office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Reuters
A trader uses his smartphone to stock information at Qatar Stock Exchange in Doha. Photo: Reuters

Blaise Robinson

European stocks fell yesterday, with shares in energy companies extending Friday's loss after Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries cut off most diplomatic and economic ties to gas-rich Qatar.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.1pc at the close, halting a two-session gain. Markets are closed for a public holiday in a number of European countries including Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Greece and Ireland.

The Stoxx oil & gas sector fell 0.6pc after dropping 1.3pc on Friday, its biggest decline since April.

The sector is down 6.6pc this year, the worst performance among industry groups in Europe. Investors should be cautious about equity markets following recent sharp gains and as red flags start to appear, JPMorgan equity strategists including Mislav Matejka and Emmanuel Cau wrote in a note, citing mixed US macro indicators among other effects. Wall Street was slightly lower in late morning trading on Monday as Apple dragged down all the three major indexes following a rating cut and ahead of its developer conference.

The iPhone maker's stock was down 0.80pc at $154.28 after brokerage Pacific Crest downgraded it to "sector weight" from "overweight".

Investors appeared to have shrugged off weekend attacks in London that came just days before Britain's general election on Thursday.

Opinion polls in the past week have put Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives ahead, though with a narrowing lead over the Labour opposition. US stocks continue to hover at record levels, helped by a strong first-quarter corporate earnings season. (Agencies)

Irish Independent

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