29 de septiembre de 2014 / 16:38 / en 3 años

HSBC, other Hong Kong-exposed shares underperform as European equities fall

* FTSEurofirst 300 index falls 0.4 pct to 1,371.11 points

* HSBC, Standard Chartered fall as Hong Kong unrest hits markets

* Luxury goods sector also under pressure

* Greek market hit as banks fall and bond yields rise

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - HSBC, LVMH and other companies exposed to Hong Kong underperformed a broader drop in European stock markets on Monday as civil unrest in the Asian city continued.

Hong Kong democracy protesters defied volleys of tear gas and police baton charges to stand firm in the centre of the global financial hub on Monday, in one of the biggest political challenges for Beijing since the Tiananmen Square crackdown 25 years ago.

Banks in Hong Kong, including HSBC, Citigroup, Bank of China, Standard Chartered and DBS , temporarily shut some branches and advised staff to work from home or go to secondary branches.

HSBC fell 2.3 percent while Standard Chartered dropped 1.6 percent, making those two banks among the worst-performing stocks on the broader, pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index , which ended down 0.4 percent at 1,371.11 points.

The luxury goods sector was also affected by the unrest in Hong Kong, since many of the companies in the sector have targeted a growing affluent Chinese clientele in recent years.

Swiss luxury goods group Richemont fell 1.7 percent while French rival LVMH declined by 1.5 percent.

“The Hong Kong situation, combined with the fact that the month of October is traditionally a weak period for stock markets, is adding to an environment that is not supportive for equities,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Reyl.

ECB TO CUSHION LOSSES

Athens’ benchmark equity index also fell, by 3.1 percent, as Attica Bank slumped 10.7 percent to trade near record lows, a day before the company seeks shareholder approval for a plan to issue new shares and raise up to 434 million euros ($550.1 million) to plug a capital shortfall.

Savary added, however, that he felt that any market pullback caused by the Hong Kong situation would be cushioned by expectations of new economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB).

“I think that the general environment is tilting more towards a consolidation, rather than a correction. The ECB will continue to inject liquidity into the system,” said Savary.

Morgan Stanley’s European equity strategists also thought the ECB would help support the region’s stock markets, with the ECB’s expected new stimulus measures offering a contrast to the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of England, which are moving towards raising interest rates next year.

“We believe investors should be overweight European exposure in their portfolio in anticipation of better macro newsflow and a more aggressive ECB relative to the Fed and BoE,” said Morgan Stanley equity strategist Graham Secker.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index remains up by around 4 percent since the start of 2014. The index hit a peak of 1,410.93 points on Sept. 19, its highest level since early 2008, but has since eased back from that rally.

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 Francesco Canepa; Editing by Susan Thomas/Crispian Balmer/Susan Fenton)

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