Chinese trade performance worse than expected

February trade figures for China far weaker than predicted with exports tumbling

Iron ore mine in Western Australia: China’s February trade performance was far weaker than economists had expected, with exports tumbling the most in more than six years. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

European shares slipped

yesterday as poor data from China hit miners and industrial metals.

China’s February trade performance was far weaker than economists had expected, with exports tumbling the most in more than six years.

The news came just days after Beijing sought to reassure investors that the outlook for the world's second-largest economy is solid.



Paddy Power Betfair

was the main corporate news story yesterday, but the betting giant’s shares slid 2.03 per cent in Dublin to close at €122.88, despite positive initial soundings from the recently-merged group.

Figures published yesterday showed that the two companies generated combined operating profits last year of €283.5 million and earnings of €383 million.

Its shares are due to enter London’s FTSE 100 index on March 18th, and traders believe there will be a lot of “technical trading” ahead of that as fund managers try to ensure they are correctly weighted in the stock.

Food group Glanbia gained 1.07 per cent thanks to a strong buyer. Traders noted that it has attracted buyers' interest in recent weeks.

Ryanair shed 3.09 per cent to close at €13.665. It had been under pressure "all day" traders said. Another index heavyweight, building materials giant, CRH, added 0.63 per cent to close at €24.71.


Irish DIY and builder’s merchant


dipped 0.89 per cent to 666 pence sterling despite the Woodie’s DIY owner reporting profits grew 17 per cent last year to €119 million.

Paddy Power Betfair

shed 1.77 per cent in London where it has its primary listing.

Mining stocks were particularly weak. BHP Billiton, Antofagasta, Anglo American and Glencore dropped between 8.5 to 18.2 per cent.

Worldpay Group fell 4.8 per cent after it said it would not pay a dividend, even though it reported underlying core earnings rose 8 per cent.

Burberry surged 6.6 per cent after the Financial Times reported that the luxury goods group had sought help to fight off a possible takeover bid. The company is attempting to identify a mystery investor who has built up a stake of nearly 5 per cent in the group.

UK supermarket group Tesco also gained, rising 1.7 percent to its highest level in almost five months, after industry data showed that the rate of its sales decline slowed.


The Stoxx


600 Basic Resources index fell 9.3 per cent reflecting the impact of the Chinese data.

German industrial output rose in January at its fastest pace in more than six years, showing that the engine room of Europe’s largest economy began 2016 well despite the financial market turmoil that has hurt business sentiment.

Saipem shares fell 14.8 percent after two of the banks that guaranteed a recent stock issue at the Italian oil services group sold a 6 per cent stake at a discount yesterday.

Shares in French supermarket Casino fell by 1.8 per cent after criticism from US research firm Muddy Waters.

Symrise fell 1.9 per cent in heavy trade after the scents and flavours maker posted weak fourth quarter results.


Wall Street was lower as oil prices slipped and weak Chinese data rekindled fears of a global economic slowdown.

Shares of Urban Outfitters were up 16.9 per cent at $32.91, after the company reported better-than-expected sales for its bohemian-inspired Free People brand. Shake Shack shed 11 per cent, falling to $37.56 after the burger chain issued disappointing results. AutoNation was down 6 per cent at $49.71 after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to "sell".

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,149 to 792. On the Nasdaq, 1,912 issues fell and 798 advanced. The S&P 500 index showed 18 new 52-week highs and one new low.

– (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas