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European Markets Summary

London Stocks End Down; Lowest Close Of 2012

FTSE 100 ends down 2% at 5465.52, its lowest closing level so far this year, driven by growing concerns that Greece could leave the euro zone. In addition, there are worries about the health of the Spanish banking sector, and JPMorgan is still in focus after its chief investment officer’s resignation following the unexpected trading loss announced last week. Financials lead the falls in London; Barclays finishes down 6.4%, Man Group ends 5.6% lower. On Tuesday’s UK economic agenda, trade balance data are due out at 0830 GMT. Chris Beauchamp at IG Index adds, “Risk aversion is likely to dominate the short-term view, given that any new Greek government is weeks away at best.”

Frankfurt Stocks Close Sharply Lower

DAX ends down 1.9% at 6451.97, trading sharply lower for the entire session due to concerns over the continuing political deadlock in Greece. Former ECB Chief Economist Issing said the country may leave the euro zone. In individual stocks, cyclicals are particularly weak with HeidelbergCement ending down 5.1%, MAN off 3.9% and ThyssenKrupp 3.8% lower. Financials also fall, with Deutsche Bank -4.1% and Allianz -3.8%. Tuesday’s scheduled data include German and EU 1Q GDP at 0600 and 0900 GMT and Germany’s ZEW indicator of economic sentiment at 0900 GMT. Allianz, ThyssenKrupp and Merck KGaA are due to report earnings in the morning.

Paris Stocks Close Sharply Lower

CAC-40 ends 2.3% lower at 3057.99, with investors increasingly worried about the political situation in Greece which still looks far from being resolved, says a Paris-based trader. EADS closes 0.4% higher, rising as the euro loses ground. Banks end lower; Credit Agricole off 5.5%, Societe Generale down 4.2%, BNP Paribas 3.7% adrift.

Amsterdam Stocks End Sharply Lower

Amsterdam stocks close sharply lower on concerns over the political deadlock in Greece, which could lead to the country’s exit from the euro zone. The benchmark index AEX ends 2.4% lower at 298.05 points with not a single constituent stock posting gains. Tuesday’s macro agenda includes the first estimate for the Dutch 1Q GDP at 0730 GM.

Zurich Stocks Close Firmly Lower

SMI ends down 1.3% at 5875.66 as virtually all stocks decline on mounting concerns over a Greek exit from the euro. Julius Baer is the only gainer, rising 1.2% ahead of its interim statement due Tuesday. But all other stocks decline, led by Adecco, down 3.8%, and Swiss Life, off 3.9%. Another loser is Holcim, which sheds 1.1% after announcing a cost-cutting plan to generate an extra CHF1.5B in operating profit by 2015. A trader notes the risk-off mood, with defensives Novartis and Nestle among the stocks outperforming the market, both declining 0.7%.

Nordic Stocks Close Sharply Lower

Nordic equity markets close significantly lower as worries over the political situation in Greece make investors shy away from risk. Attempts to form a coalition government in Greece collapsed over the weekend, sparking fresh worries that the indebted country will exit the euro. OMXN40 ends down 3.1% at 929.20, OBX down 1.9% at 370.08. In individual stocks, H Lundbeck bucks the trend and gains 8.8% after announcing positive trial results for a new anti-depressant drug. Tuesday, focus is likely to continue on Greece. In the Nordics, Sweden’s H&M posts April sales figures at 0600 GMT.

Milan Stocks Close Sharply Lower

FTSE Mib ends down 2.7% at 13,660.87, deeply in the red though off earlier lows, amid growing concerns that Greece could exit the euro zone due to difficulties in forming a coalition government following inconclusive elections. Financial stocks are among the worst performers with Mediolanum down 7%, UniCredit off 4.9% and Intesa Sanpaolo 3.5% lower. Tuesday’s macroeconomic data of interest include Italy preliminary 1Q GDP at 0800 GM.

Madrid Stocks Close Sharply Lower

IBEX-35 ends down 2.7% at 6809.4, its lowest level since October 2003, as Spanish banks are at the center of investors’ negative sentiment along with political stalemate in Greece that could prompt its exit from the euro zone. Moody’s warns that Spanish banks remain vulnerable to rising loan delinquencies even after they comply with government orders to increase real-estate loss provisions. Bankia, considered the weakest Spanish lender, falls 8.9% while Banco Popular slips 4.4%. Construction firm ACS falls 3.6%. Tuesday, investors will stay focused on the international response to measures to fix Spain’s banks. It is a bank holiday in Madrid which will likely generate weaker-than-average trading volumes and stronger volatility

Athens Stocks Finish Session 4.6% Lower

ASE ends down 4.6% at 584.04, plunging below the psychlogical 600 level to a fresh 22-year low, in moderate turnover of EUR38.9M. Concerns over Greece’s political deadlock again weigh on sentiment, while fears over the country’s exit from the euro zone also hit other European bourses. “The political instability and the scenarios about a euro exit have affected the market,” says a local research director. “Everything depends on whether or not Greece can form a government.” Blue chips broadly end lower with OPAP sliding 12%, National Bank down 1.4% and Coca-Cola Hellenic off 4.1%.

Prague Stocks Close Sharply Lower

X ends 1.8% lower at 893.2 as Prague stocks move in step with regional bourses amid selloffs sparked by the growing fear of a Greek default or exit from the euro zone. Erste Bank falls 3.9%; Komercni Banka, with limited exposure to the single currency area, holds its ground to close 0.1% lower. CEZ ends the session 0.9% adrift.


StockMarketNews Research Team

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