European shares set for biggest weekly loss in 3 years

viernes 12 de diciembre de 2014 12:11 GYT
 

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 2 pct; weekly loss 5.4 pct
    * $468 bln wiped off STOXX 600 companies this week
    * Greek stocks sink 20 pct in week on political turmoil
    * Pictet bearish on euro zone stocks for 2015

    By Blaise Robinson
    PARIS, Dec 12 (Reuters) - European stocks tumbled again on
Friday, on course for their biggest weekly loss since September
2011 as shares in oil and oil services firms sank further along
with crude oil prices.
    The broad STOXX Europe 600 has lost 5.2 percent
during the week, representing a wipeout in market capitalisation
of roughly $468 billion, nearly twice the size of Greece's GDP.
    Saipem dropped 5 percent on Friday, hitting a
10-year low, while Royal Dutch Shell was down 2.4
percent, Repsol down 4.8 percent and CGG down
4.6 percent.
    Brent crude fell below $63 a barrel, its lowest
since July 2009, as concerns over a global supply glut and a
sluggish demand outlook persisted. 
    Crude has dropped more than 45 percent since June, forcing a
number of European oil services companies including Seadrill
 and Fugro to scrap dividends as oil majors
accelerate cost-cutting efforts.
    The STOXX oil and gas index has plummeted 29 percent
since June. The sell-off has wiped roughly $300 billion off
market capitalisation of the sector.
    "We're reaching a point where there's a risk of seeing
corporate and sovereign defaults in energy-producing countries,
which could revive global systemic risks," said Christophe
Donay, head of strategy at Pictet, which has $441 billion in
assets under management and custody.
    "I wouldn't be surprised to see the IMF helping some of the
oil-producing countries next year ... The key for asset managers
for 2015 is really to diversify and hedge portfolios."
    Pictet has recently sold all euro zone stocks in its
portfolios amid doubts about the European Central Bank's ability
to revive the region's economic growth, Donay said.
    At 1600 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 2 percent at 1,330.66 points. The index
has dropped 5.4 percent so far this week.
    It is up 0.9 percent in 2014, well below the 9.1 percent
gain by Wall Street's S&P 500.
    Greece's political crisis has also been weighing on market
sentiment this week, with Athens's ATG stock index 
sinking nearly 20 percent since last Friday.
    Investors have been rattled by a decision by the Greek
government to bring forward to next week a presidential vote
that will force nearly two dozen independent lawmakers to decide
whether to side with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' pro-bailout
cabinet, or with leftist radicals who have vowed to tear up the
bailout. Failure to elect a president would trigger early
elections, which opinion polls show Syriza is likely to win.
 
    Speculation of an imminent credit downgrade of France by
Fitch also rattled investors on Friday. Fitch placed France on
rating watch negative in October, signalling the possibility of
a rating change.
            
    Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
    Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
    Today's European research round-up 

 (Additional reporting by Annabella Nielsen; Editing by Andrew
Roche)