European stocks fell Friday, marking their worst weekly drop in three months by rounding it off with a disappointing outlook from Cartier parent Richemont and lingering concerns about tax-cut legislation in the U.S.
What markets are doing: The Stoxx Europe 600 shed 0.4% to end at 388.69, the lowest close since Oct. 25, according to FactSet data. Only the financial sector finished higher. On Thursday, the index dropped 1.1% , the biggest one-day percentage loss since June 29.
The index closed this week down by 1.8%, the sharpest percentage loss since the week ended Aug. 11.
Germany’s DAX 30 index fell 0.4% to 13,127.47, and France’s CAC 40 gave up 0.5% at 5,380.72. The indexes this week declined 2.6% and 2.5%, respectively.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 gave up 0.7% to end at 7,432.99, and Spain’s IBEX 35 fell 0.5% to 10,992.70. Those gauges closed the week down by 1.7% and 2.6%, respectively.
The euro traded at $1.1656, up from $1.1643 late Thursday in New York. The shared currency was up roughly 0.4% this week against the greenback.
What’s moving markets: A busy week of corporate updates spread into Friday. Investors appeared disappointed with an outlook from Richemont SA, whose high-end brands include Cartier and Montblanc. Investors in rival luxury company Burberry Group PLC continued to selloff its shares after they were mauled Thursday.
Meanwhile, better-than-expected French economic data helped push the euro higher, while a stronger reading on U.K. industrial data pulled sterling to its highest since last week against the dollar. Stronger currencies can hurt shares of multinational companies in Europe as earnings made by those companies can get squeezed when converted back into euros and pounds.
Meanwhile, concerns about a possible delay in tax cuts in the U.S. lingered. Those worries contributed to losses in U.K. and Asian equities on Friday, following a selloff in the U.S. on Thursday . The prospect of lower taxes and other stimulus put forward by the Trump administration has bolstered equity markets over the past year.
What strategists are saying: “The week looks set to close in dramatic fashion, with widespread selling across European and U.S. indices amid a weakening U.S. corporate tax reform outlook and strengthening European currencies,” said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, in a note.
“Early [pound] gains were built upon amid the latest comments from [EU Brexit negotiator] Michel Barnier who showed that despite a shortening timeline, there is still a chance to start trade talks in December. [U.K. Brexit negotiator] David Davis now has a fortnight to agree a divorce payment or else wait until March to begin trade talks,” said Mahony.
“While we cannot predict the environment for the full year, it is clear that the full-year results on a comparative basis will not see the exceptional level of growth reported in the period under review,” said Richemont’s Chairman Johann Rupert. Richemont’s first-half profit did jump 80%, aided by strong growth across all of its divisions.
Leonardo SpA (>> Leonardo) sank 21.6% as the Italian defense and aerospace company cut its yearly profit and sales expectations and said it’s seeing challenges in its helicopter business. “We can now see that the full year as a whole will be tougher than originally expected,” the company said in a statement.
Altice NV shares swung lower to trade down 3.4%. The French telecoms group outlined a management shake-up that includes the resignation of Chief Executive Michel Combes. The moves come following disappointing third-quarter results that led to a plunge in Altice’s share price.
ArcelorMittal MT climbed 3.4%, with the Netherlands-listed steelmaker’s third-quarter net profit nearly doubling to $1.21 billion and outstripping expectations.
Boskalis Westminster NV fell 2.6% after the dredging and maritime services company reiterated it expects second-half net profit to be comparable to its first-half profit of 75 million euro ($87.3 million), excluding some restructuring charges to be taken in the second half.
Burberry fell 2.3%, with UBS downgrading its shares to neutral from buy. The stock on Thursday tumbled 10% after the British luxury goods retailer warned it doesn’t expect sales growth until fiscal 2021 .
Economic data: France’s industrial output rose 0.6%, slightly more than anticipated in September as pharmaceutical production jumped, the Insee statistics agency said.
Source: Dow Jones