World equities rocked by new oil slide

 05 Apr 2016 - 13:08

World equities rocked by new oil slide
Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Staff


London: Europe's main stock markets dived Tuesday, after another sell-off across most of Asia that was sparked by a fresh drop in oil prices, dealers said.

Around 0900 GMT, Frankfurt's benchmark DAX 30 index was down 2.5 percent compared with Monday's finish, as dire German factory orders sparked fresh questions about the health of the eurozone's biggest economy. 

Elsewhere, France's CAC 40 index shed 2.0 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 1.4 percent in value.

World oil prices languished close to one-month lows on persistent worries over the global supply glut, weighing on energy shares.

Sentiment failed to win a boost from news that eurozone private sector business activity nudged higher in March after a sharp fall in February, according to a survey from data firm Markit.

Oil, economy woes 

"The FTSE 100 was down in early trading following downbeat overnight sessions on Wall Street and in Asia, with volatile crude oil prices and global economic concerns continuing to have an impact on investor sentiment," said Russ Mould, investment director at stockbroker AJ Bell.

The mood darkened as gloomy data showed that German industrial orders -- a key measure of demand for goods in Europe's top economy -- declined in February. 

Provisional official data showed a decrease in orders of 1.2 percent month-on-month in February, weighed down by falling foreign demand. That followed an increase of 0.5 percent in January.

Analysts polled by financial services firm FactSet had pencilled in a modest increase of 0.3 percent for February.

"A poor February for German factory orders ... adds to eurozone woes," said analyst Mike van Dulken at traders Accendo Markets.

In Asia and Europe, energy companies nursed heavy losses as oil prices fell further.

"WTI crude is eyeing a move back below $35 per barrel," noted analyst Tony Cross at traders Trustnet Direct.

"As a result it's the natural resources stocks that are scattered across the foot of the index, with Royal Dutch Shell and BP also being dragged very much into the fray."

BP slid 1.94 percent to 338 pence and Shell's 'A' shares shed 2.35 percent to 1,638 pence.

In Paris, French peer Total saw its stock decline 1.77 percent to 38.48 euros.

Investors were handed a negative lead from Wall Street, where the plunge in crude all but wiped out Friday's jobs-fuelled gains.

US tightens M&A rules

The US Treasury meanwhile announced new rules on Monday aimed at stemming the tide of mergers between US and foreign businesses designed to sharply lower the US company's tax bill.

The news sparked worries over pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer's record $160 billion proposed purchase of peer Allergan, dealers said.

In response, Allergan and Pfizer said they would be reviewing the impact of the US announcement.

The news sent Allergan shares slumping more than a fifth in after-hours New York trade.

"We are conducting a review of the US Department of Treasury's actions," the pair said in a brief statement.

"Prior to completing the review, we won't speculate on any potential impact."

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the toughened regulations target companies moving their headquarters, but not their US operations, to low-tax domiciles abroad via so-called inversion deals.

On the upside in Asia on Tuesday, Shanghai stocks jumped on easing Chinese economic worries after Friday's better-than-forecast manufacturing data.