European Stocks Fall, Asian Shares Trade Lower
Frankfurt (Feb 23) European stocks fell on Tuesday following a predominantly gloomy day in Asia and disappointing results from several heavy hitters.
In Germany, the closely watched Ifo business-climate index fell more than expected in February to 105.7 from 107.3, weighing on shares as it added to worries about eurozone growth. In the U.K., the pound continued to fall against the dollar on concern about the nation's potential exit from the European Union. One pound bought $1.4087 as of late morning in London, a decline of 0.45%.
The FTSE 100 at that time was down 0.81% at 5,989.00. In Frankfurt, the DAX pared 0.95% to 9,482.36 and in Paris the CAC 40 was down 0.54% at 4,275.64.
FTSE 100 lender Standard Chartered (SCBFF) plunged as much as 12% and by late morning was down about 5.4% in London after the lender missed full-year profit and revenue expectations amid surging bad loans. The company actually plunged $1.5 billion into the red when including one-time charges. It predicted that earnings would remain subdued this year.
Another FTSE 100 constituent BHP Billiton (BHP) , the world's largest miner, was down close to 5% after posting a first-half loss of almost $5.7 billion and predicting a prolonged period of weak commodity prices and higher volatility. It slashed its first-half dividend by 75%.
InterContinental Hotels Group (ICHGF) pared early gains in London to trade 1.6% higher by late morning after the company said it would pay out a greater-than-expected $1.5 billion in special dividends from the proceeds of hotel sales.
Homebuilder Persimmon (PSMMY) was up more than 4% in London after the company announced plans to increase dividend payouts over the next five years on the back of improved operating margins and increased sales. It will start with a payout of 110 pence, instead of the 10 pence it had previously planned. Underlying profit before tax increased by 34% to £637.8 million ($899 million) last year, it said.
Oil industry services company John Wood Group (WDGJF) was up 5% after meeting expectations for a 14.5% decline in full-year Ebita to $470 million and saying that it still plans to increase the 2016 dividend by a double-digit percentage.
In Paris, foodmaker Danone (DANOY) was up about 3% after it predicted higher profit in the current year as its dairy business, which accounts for about half of all sales, recovers.
Defense company Thales was up more than 7% after raised its mid-term revenue forecasts and posted a 44% increase in profit last year.
Asian indices ended the day predominantly in the red.
In Sydney, railroad and ports operator Asciano closed up 1.6% at A$9.01 after rival bidders led by Qube and Brookfield Asset Management said they were in talks about collaborating on a joint, all-cash bid worth A$9.28 per share and a carve-up of the company. The bid would value the equity at close to A$9.1 billion ($6.6 billion).
The S&P/ASX 200 closed down 0.43% at 4,979.59.
In Hong Kong, investors shaved 0.25% from the value of the Hang Seng, which closed at 19,414.78. On mainland China, the CSI 300 composite index dropped 0.95% to 3,089.36. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.37% lower at 16,052.05 and the Topix closed 0.68% lower at 1,291.17.