Sun, Apr 16, 2017 - Page 14 News List

European shares post weekly loss

Reuters, LONDON

European shares were on Thursday led lower by declines in the bank sector, leaving an index of the continent’s top companies to nurse a weekly loss.

The markets were closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.

The pan-European STOXX 600 on Thursday closed down 0.4 percent, ending the week with a 0.2 percent decline after two weeks of gains.

The banking sector was down 1.2 percent at a five-week low, posting its fifth straight day of losses as investors globally fled risky assets.

Banco Popular Espanol SA and Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International AG led the sector’s losses, down 3.6 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

French banks Societe Generale SA, Credit Agricole SA and BNP Paribas SA were also among the top fallers, down by between 1.4 and 2.6 percent.

“The global reflation trade came off and banks, which have been doing quite well, have been dropping, but we still see opportunity for European banks going forward, and we are looking in the pullback for the opportunity to put some money to work in European banks,” Union Bancaire Privee chief investment officer Norman Villamin said.

German airline Lufthansa AG fell 3.1 percent after investor InfiniteMiles placed a 2.5 percent stake at 15.25 euros per share.

Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA) rose to a record high, up 7.8 percent.

A group of private equity companies bid around 200 billion Swedish krona (US$22.3 billion) for the hygiene arm of the tissue and forestry products company, a Swedish newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.

Mediclinic International PLC rose 3.1 percent after a trading update showed this year’s revenue increased 3.5 percent.

British retailer ABF PLC was up 3.4 percent.

Jefferies Group LLC raised the stock from “hold” to “buy,” citing continued strength in sugar and a turn in margins in its Primark unit.

Britain’s Royal Mail rose 3.6 percent after saying it would close its defined benefit pension scheme next year.

Danish, Icelandic and Norwegian exchanges were closed for the Maundy Thursday holiday, taking volume out of the European benchmarks.

Investors are focusing on upcoming European company earnings and Villamin said he was looking for results to reflect the macroeconomic picture.

“We think that’s going to be quite important for the next leg of performance in the market,” he added.

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