Hong Kong jitters affect global markets
US, UK and European stocks fall as Hong Kong protests add to geopolitical concerns
Pro-democracy protesters gather outside the Hong Kong government headquarters. Photograph: Alex Hofford/EPA
Unrest in Hong Kong also added to City jitters in London where traders continued to sell the country’s largest supermarkets. In Europe makers of luxury goods fell but analysts said moves by the ECB to inject liquidity into the system will help to alleviate concerns.
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Aryzta fell 2.62 per cent to €67. The Swiss-Irish baked goods group reported full-year revenues of €4.8 billion for its year to the end of July, up 6.8 per cent on the same period last year. Pre-tax profits were up 16.3 per cent to €481.5 million.
Among other notable movers Hibernia REIT was up almost 1 per cent to €1.17 and Independent News & Media was down 2 per cent to 14 cent.
Standard Chartered said it had temporarily shut ATMs and branches in five locations as part of a “business continuity plan”. The bank, whose UK-listed shares fell almost 2 per cent or 19p to 1155.5p, has 6,000 staff at 78 branches in Hong Kong. HSBC, which has 27,000 staff and about 100 branches there, said it too activated elements of its continuity plan after closing a couple of branches early. Shares were 2 per cent lower, off 15.2p to 635p.
Prudential, which is a major insurer in Asia, fell 9p to 1414.5p. Supermarkets also featured on the fallers board after Aldi posted a record profit. Tesco fell 2 per cent or 3.75p to 187.8p, Morrisons dipped 1.3p to 169.7p and Sainsbury’s dropped 2.8p to 247.3p ahead of its trading update on Wednesday.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Petrofac up 29p at 1039p, Compass up 23 at 984p, Admiral up 28p at 1281p and Sports Direct International up 13.5p at 634p.
European stocks with exposure to luxury goods all fell on Hong Kong concerns. François Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Reyl, said he felt that any market pullback caused by the Hong Kong situation would be cushioned by expectations of new economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB).
Morgan Stanley’s European equity strategists also thought the ECB would help support the region’s stock markets, with the ECB’s expected new stimulus measures offering a contrast to the US Federal Reserve and Bank of England, which are moving towards raising interest rates next year.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index remains up by about 4 per cent since the start of 2014. The index hit a peak of 1,410.93 points on September 19th, its highest level since early 2008, but has since eased back.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 85.21 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 17,027.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.4 per cent. – (Additional reporting Bloomberg, Reuters)