weak earnings drag European stocks lower
Thu Oct 21 2021
Mark Cooper (2755 articles)

weak earnings drag European stocks lower

European stocks retreated from six-week highs on Thursday, with miners leading the declines on renewed concerns about China’s property sector, while mixed quarterly updates from companies dampened risk appetite.

The Europe-wide STOXX 600 index fell 0.2% due to a dour mood in global markets following the collapse of a $2.6 billion asset sale at indebted developer China Evergrande Group.

European miners, which have a large exposure to China, shed 2.5%. UK-listed shares of Anglo American fell 3.7% even though it reported a 2% rise in overall production in the third quarter.

Worries about China’s plan to bring down coal prices hit high-flying metal prices on Wednesday.

“China’s macro cycle has troughed, but growth remains subdued,” said Andreas Bruckner, Bank of America’s European equity strategist, who earlier this month set a year-end target of 420 for the STOXX 600, implying a fall of about 10% from current levels.

“The downside risks relative to our projections are increasing, given the potential additional drag from supply-chain disruptions, energy shortages in Europe and China, the intensifying debt crisis in China’s property sector, and the risk of a central bank policy mistake.”

Swiss engineering and tech group ABB tumbled nearly 6% after it lowered its full-year sales forecast and warned of shortages of components, while Sweden’s AB Volvo fell about 0.8% after it said chip shortages hampered production of its trucks.

There was no relief for banking stocks either. The sector fell 0.9% even though UK’s Barclays and Finland’s Nordea reported upbeat quarterly results.

Defensive sectors lent support to European bourses as personal and household goods index rose 0.7% on the back of Unilever’s third-quarter earnings beat.

Luxury stocks were also higher after Birkin bag maker Hermes rose 0.8% on strong quarterly sales.

Cartier-owner Richemont advanced 0.4% after HSBC raised the brand to “buy” from “hold”, citing its leadership and momentum in the jewellery industry.

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper is Political / Stock Market Correspondent. He has been covering Global Stock Markets for more than 6 years.