Sun, Apr 21, 2013 - Page 15 News List

European equities pummeled by weak economic readings


European stocks posted the biggest weekly loss in five months as economic data from the US to China and Germany missed estimates, prompting a selloff in the shares of commodity producers.

Polymetal International PLC slumped 17 percent, leading precious-metal producers lower, as gold declined for a fourth week and silver for a sixth. EON SE and RWE AG, Germany’s largest utilities, tumbled 9 percent and 14 percent respectively. Nokia Oyj lost 12 percent after posting sales that trailed projections. Eurasian Natural Resources Corp jumped 17 percent after shareholder Alexander Machkevitch said he was holding preliminary talks to make a takeover offer.

The STOXX Europe 600 Index fell 2.5 percent to 285.21 this week. The gauge has slid 2.9 percent so far this month, heading for the first monthly loss since May last year, as data signaled that the economic rebound in the US has slowed, and the European Central Bank said risks to the eurozone’s recovery remain.

“We’ve had poor data in China, Germany and especially the US,” said Henrik Drusebjerg, a senior strategist at Nordea Bank AB in Copenhagen. “If investors were looking for signs of a pause in growth, those concerns have been confirmed. The fall in commodities is a result of these disappointing growth figures.”

National benchmark indices dropped in all western European markets except Greece and Iceland. The UK’s FTSE 100 fell 1.5 percent, France’s CAC 40 slid 2.1 percent and Germany’s DAX lost 3.7 percent.

A report from China on Monday showed the world’s No. 2 economy grew 7.7 percent in the first quarter, missing the 8 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Last month’s industrial production rose less than estimated, another release showed.

US data showed manufacturing in the region encompassing New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut expanded less than projected. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index slipped to 3.1 this month from 9.2 last month. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey had called for a reading of 7 this month.

In Germany, investor confidence slumped more than forecast. An index of investor and analyst expectations published on Tuesday by the ZEW Center for European Economic Research fell to 36.3 this month from 48.5 last month. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had predicted 41.

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