Thursday 12 December 2019

European shares extend losses as oil prices fall again

An investor holds onto prayer beads as he watches a board showing stock prices at a brokerage office in Beijing. Photo: Reuters
An investor holds onto prayer beads as he watches a board showing stock prices at a brokerage office in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Samuel Shen and Nathaniel Taplin

European shares opened lower on Tuesday, extending losses seen in the previous session, on the back of a fall in Asia and as oil prices continued their drop to dip below the $30 mark.

By 0810 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down 1.6 percent, while the euro zone's blue chip Euro Stoxx 50 index was down 1.5 percent.

The slide in oil prices pushed energy sector stocks down 3 percent, making them the top sectoral loser, followed by mining and banking stocks, down 2.7 percent and 2.2 percent respectively.

Among the few gainers, shares in Siemens rose 4 percent after Europe's biggest industrial group raised its full-year earnings forecast on strong first-quarter results

China stocks slump over 6pc in late selling frenzyChina stocks plunged more than 6pc on Tuesday after yet another late bout of panic selling triggered by a resumed slide in global equity markets and oil prices.

The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 6pc to 2,940.51 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 6.4pc, to 2,749.79.

By midday, both indexes had been down around 2pc.

China's fickle stock markets have slumped about 18 percent so far this year on concerns about the slowing economy and confusion over the central bank's foreign exchange policy.

Many investors have lost the stomach for the market after a wild ride since last summer, when shares crashed 40pc.

Beijing intervened to stem that rout and orchestrate a recovery of sorts, but anyone who mistook that for a bottom and bought in will have lost their shirt again in January.

"The market is still seeking a bottom, though the pace of decline is getting slower," said Chang Chengwei, analyst at brokerage Hengtai Futures.

"Volume is getting very thin, as there is hardly any fresh inflows, and the process of deleveraging is continuing."

China's outstanding margin loans - money investors borrow to buy stocks - declined for 16 consecutive sessions to January 22, the longest losing streak on record, with 209 billion yuan ($32 billion) worth of leveraged bets unwound during the period.

Investors remain wary about further weakness in the yuan, too, despite assurances from Beijing that it has no intention of pushing it lower to gain a competitive advantage.

Chastened by the market's bearish reaction to an early January depreciation in the yuan, the People's Bank of China has since kept the yuan's daily midpoint fixing little changed.


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