European stocks end mixed

January 21, 2014 - 10:21:41 am
LONDON: Europe’s main stock markets turned in a mixed, lacklustre performance yesterday with Wall Street closed for a holiday and China turning in disappointing growth data.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day up 0.11 percent at 6,836.73 points, while Frankfurt’s DAX 30 slid 0.28 percent to 9,715.9 points and the CAC 40 in Paris dipped 0.11 percent to 4,322.86 points.

Milan nudged up 0.02 percent, while Madrid gave up 0.11 percent.

“European markets have continued where they left off at the end of last week drifting sideways, but with a slight downward bias in fairly listless trade in the absence of US markets” which were closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK. 

He said the upside was “capped due to a negative Asia session after Chinese economic data failed to inspire, while Deutsche Bank followed in the footsteps of some of its US peers last week by disappointing the markets, by releasing a profits warning over the weekend.”

Markus Huber, senior analyst at brokers Peregrine & Black, said that “considering that markets have risen sharply in the past few weeks today’s disappointing news by Deutsche Bank and out of China might serve as a welcome excuse to take some profits and money off the table.”.

China’s economy last year registered flat growth of 7.7 percent, maintaining its slowest expansion in more than a decade as the government warned Monday of “deep-rooted problems” including a mountain of local authority debt.

Shares in Deutsche Bank slumped 5.4 percent to ¤37.21 after it announced late on Sunday a surprise net loss of ¤965m in the fourth quarter of 2013 because of litigation costs and weakening revenues. 

The news dragged down other major banks in Europe, with Commerzbank dropping 4.5 percent to ¤12.94, Barclays down 2.0 percent to 282.8 pence, Royal Bank of Scotland shedding 1.3 percent to 359 pence, Unicredit losing 1.3 percent to 5.91 euros and Societe Generale giving up 1.0 percent to 44.40 euros.

Meanwhile, shares in troubled French carmaker Peugeot Citroen tumbled 11.1 percent to ¤10.21 after the company approved in principle a capital increase that will bring in Chinese carmaker Dongfeng and the French state as major shareholders.

The company also announced that global sales fell by 4.9 percent in 2013, to 2.82 million vehicles, on weakness in its main markets Europe and Russia, the third year in a row of falling sales.

In France, the Altice group, the main shareholder in cable operator Numericable Group, said it would float on the Amsterdam market on January 31, valuing the business at ¤5.1bn-¤6.25bn.

In foreign exchange activity, the European single currency climbed to $1.3563 from $1.3535 late on Friday in New York. The euro edged up to 82.57 pence from 82.44 pence on Friday, while the pound rose to $1.6423 from $1.6414.

Gold prices gained to $1,255.75 an ounce from $1,250 Friday on the London Bullion Market.