Europe sinks lower on Greek fears despite Asian rebound
Fiona Cincotta May 17, 2012 9:00 AM
<p>European markets sold off sharply again today, on public holiday Ascension Day for mainland Europe, as concerns over Greece continue to weigh on sentiment on […]</p>
European markets sold off sharply again today, on public holiday Ascension Day for mainland Europe, as concerns over Greece continue to weigh on sentiment on trading, whilst speculation that Moody’s were set to cut a range of Spanish bank ratings also escalated losses into the close.
Today’s weaker session came despite strong economic data from Asia and suggestions of a possibility of more stimulus from US central bank in the FOMC minutes last night.
Unexpectedly strong Gross Domestic Product data from Japan meant a late session rebound in Asian stocks with the Nikkei gaining 0.9% on the news that its economy had grown by 1%. This news combined with the fact that the Federal Reserve indicative that it will act again to shore up the US economy if it falters – though refrained from indicating it could extend Operation Twist – should have given the FTSE 100 a positive start to the day. Instead the 1% plus sell off this morning has only added to the 7.5% loss that the UK blue-chip index has suffered since the beginning of May emphasising that risk off continues for now and investors have shown no willingness to bargain hunt badly beaten stocks. The UK Index has now lost over 10% from its mid-March high of 5989 hitting a 6 month closing low in the process.
As the Greek drama continues, it is the uncertainty of whether Greece will remain in the euro or not and the consequences on peripheral states should the new election see the anti-austerity party succeed which is bearing down on investors. Each day the likelihood of Greece leaving the eurozone seems to increase, which could lead to somewhat unpredictable consequences. With this in mind we are seeing investors continue to sell out of their more risky assets and focus on short term strategies, it has become a familiar picture to see Miners and Financials heading up the losers on the FTSE 100 and today is no exception. Vedanta, Xstrata and Glencore have all lost over 4% of their value, whilst Lloyds, Barclays and RBS have each shed over 3%.
Spanish banks lost heavily in trading after rumours infiltrated the markets that Moody’s was set to cut their ratings on a number of Spanish banks. This weighed on trading in the afternoon session and triggered deeper losses going into the close.
HSBC had traded slightly better than the rest of the banking sector in early trading as it released news that it had achieved a $2 billion cost saving on an annualised basis since it started to scale back its size and boost its profitability. Furthermore it expects to hit its target of $3.5 billion cost saving by the end of 2013. However, the banks share price weighed down in afternoon trading, matching similar bearish sentiment for European banks.
With more positive news, ICAP is leading the gainers, up over 1.5% by mid morning trading, following a series of broker recommendations and increased target price. It was also reported that they are in talks to buy Plus Market Group PMK.L, the UK exchange for fledgling companies.
GAIN Capital UK Limited (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.
No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.