European stocks fall to five-week low
Negative sentiment towards airlines sees Ryanair close down 2.4 per cent
Orange fell 4.1 per cent as Bpifrance sold a stake in the company for €580 million. Photograph: Reuters/Andrea Comas
European stocks fell to the lowest level in more than five weeks after Italy cut its economic-growth forecasts and US manufacturing data missed estimates.
National benchmark indexes fell in 16 of the 18 markets in western Europe. Germany’s DAX and the UK’s FTSE 100 lost 1 per cent each, while France’s CAC 40 dropped 1.2 per cent. Greece’s ASE Index, which earlier rallied as much as 3.1 per cent amid speculation the ECB might buy low-grade Greek bank loans, slid 0.3 per cent.
In Ireland, the Iseq Overall Index declined by 0.7 per cent , with one trader reporting a “lacklustre” day of activity.
About 120,000 shares in ferry operator ICG changed hands yesterday, pushing the stock up 0.8 per cent to €2.783.
Ryanair started the day strongly but closed down 2.4 per cent at €7.35, reflecting negative sentiment towards airline stocks across most of the main markets in Europe and the US.
Industrial group Smurfit Kappa closed down almost 2 per cent at €17.015. The stock went ex-dividend yesterday. Another loser on the day was Bank of Ireland, which finished 1.3 per cent lower at 30.6 cent.
J Sainsbury dropped 7 per cent to an 11-year low after the UK’s third-largest grocer said it won’t see a return to same- store sales growth this year as it battles the impact of discount stores and price deflation.
Tesco and Wm Morrison Supermarkets also slid more than 2.5 per cent each.
BG Group fell 4.1 per cent after Credit Suisse Group lowered its price estimate.
The FTSE 100 declined 65.2 points, or 1 per cent, to 6,557.52 at the close. The benchmark gauge has lost 1.4 per cent this week and ended the third quarter down 1.8 per cent as Next said it may lower its annual profit forecast and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong escalated, pushing HSBC Holdings lower.
The broader FTSE All-Share Index also slid 1 per cent.
Adidas rose after announcing a plan to return as much as €1.5 billion to shareholders.
The Stoxx 600 Europe Index slid 0.8 per cent to 340.22 at the close of trading. The equity benchmark had climbed 0.6 per cent on the previous day completing its fifth quarter of gains, the longest streak since 2006, amid optimism the European Central Bank will step up stimulus measures even as the Federal Reserve winds down its programme.
The Italian government said the country’s gross domestic product will shrink 0.3 per cent this year, compared with its April prediction of an increase of 0.8 per cent. It also forecast a slower-than-expected recovery in 2015, with GDP expanding 0.6 per cent.
In France, the government will delay a goal to reduce its budget deficit to 3 per cent of GDP until 2017 because of low growth and low inflation, Les Echos reported.
US stocks were down more than 1 per cent in late afternoon trading as the first diagnosis of Ebola in a patient in the US spooked investors and pressured shares of airlines.
Small- cap stocks were down sharply for a second session, with the Russell 2000 on track to close 10 per cent below its recent closing high, a level that would put the index in correction territory.
The day’s losses were broad, with nine of the 10 primary S&P 500 sectors trading lower. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters