21 de agosto de 2015 / 10:29 / en 2 años

European shares drop after China factory contraction sparks growth worry

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1 pct

* Chinese flash PMIs increase concern over state of economy

* Greek shares slip after PM resigns before new election

* Vopak slumps on concerns over its outlook

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - European shares fell to a seven-month low on Friday on growing concerns over China’s economy after a survey showed factory activity there contracted at its fastest pace since 2009.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 1 percent to 1,462.78 points, its lowest level since January and on course for its biggest weekly fall of the year.

The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.6 percent while Germany’s DAX declined 0.5 percent, with the DAX some 16 percent below record highs reached in April.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing index showed activity in China’s factory sector shrank at its fastest pace in almost 6-1/2 years in August, heightening fears of a slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Vopak was one of the worst-performing stocks in Europe, slumping 14 percent after the Dutch oil and chemicals storage company forecast lower earnings in the second half of the year and warned of tough conditions in Asia.

Concerns that China’s slowdown could have an impact on other economies have increased in recent weeks. U.S. stock futures fell to a 6 month low after the Chinese survey, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index fell 3 percent.

“Admittedly, the picture in Asia has deteriorated and investors are waiting for the Chinese government to give guidance,” said Heinz Rüttimann, strategist at Julius Baer.

The Athens stock market also edged down 1 percent after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who heads up the leftist Syriza party, resigned on Thursday before a new election is likely to be held in September.

Tsipras is hoping to strengthen his hold on power in the election, after seven months in office in which he fought Greece’s creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in.

“Regarding Greece, we are not that concerned at the moment, as Syriza is still by far the most popular party. It indicates that Syriza could get enough votes to get an absolute majority,” said Antoine Deix, European equity and derivatives strategist at BNP Paribas.

Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today’s European research round-up

Editing by Alison Williams

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