May 16, 2016 / 8:12 AM / 2 years ago

European shares lower led by H&M drops, cost plan lifts Telecom Italia

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.7 percent

* H&M drops as sales disappoint

* All sectors lower except miners, oil

* Telecom Italia, Lonmin as cost plans please (ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). Adds details, updates prices)

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, May 16 (Reuters) - European shares were lower on Monday with Hennes & Mauritz among the main losers after disappointing sales growth figures, while Telecom Italia shone after lifting its cost cutting goal.

By 0746 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.66 percent. Volumes were likely to remain with the German market closed for a public holiday.

The FTSEurofirst is down by around 9 percent so far in 2016, with global stock markets affected by concerns about weakness in China, the world’s second-biggest economy.

Doubts about whether China’s economy is stabilising resurfaced over the weekend when data showed investment, factory output and retail sales in the country all grew more slowly than expected in April.

JCI Capital portfolio manager Alessandro Balsotti said in a note the renewed concerns over the Chinese economy could affect markets this week amid the absence of any other key macroeconomic data to focus on.

Hennes & Mauritz fell 1.5 percent, making it one of the top losers on the FTSEurofirst, after the Swedish budget fashion retailer reported a 5 percent increase in April sales, below the 9 percent expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

Prudential Plc also fell 1.3 percent, after Morgan Stanley cut its price target on the stock, although the investment bank kept an “overweight” rating on Prudential.

Telecom Italia rose 3.7 percent. Italy’s biggest telecoms group more than doubled the cost cutting target in its new business plan after reporting a larger-than-expected 16 percent drop in first-quarter core profit, hit by one-offs and persistent weakness in its key Brazilian market.

“The positive surprise on cost savings would justify a double-digit share price performance,” said Banca Akros analyst Andrea De Vita.

Basic resources stocks and oils stocks were the only two sectoral gainers with a rise of 1.4 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

South Africa-focused platinum producer Lonmin soared 14 percent. Its first-half core profit was $36 million, up from a loss of $6 million the same time a year ago following cost savings, which were well ahead of schedule.

Today’s European research round-up

ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.

If you have any thoughts, suggestions or feedback on this, please email

Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Tom Heneghan

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