European Stocks Lower, China's Markets Closed All Week
Frankfurt (Feb 8) European markets reversed early gains Monday morning, as many Asian markets were closed for the Chinese New Year holiday and investors were left looking to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony before Congress later this week for direction.
Japan's markets were open, undisturbed by the Lunar New Year celebrations elsewhere in the region, but their rise -- based on the falling value of the yen, which is seen as boosting exports -- did little to reassure investors in Europe. Even the prospect of this week's Carnival excitement in Catholic areas of Germany could not halt the decline.
The FTSE 100 was down 1.78% at 5,743.95, while in Frankfurt the DAX was down 2.54% at 9,050.61, which is close to the psychologically important 9,000 threshold. In Paris, which has already dropped past both 4,200 and 4,100 at times this monring, the market was down 2.22% at 4,104.47.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei finished the day up 1.10% at 17,004.3, while the TOPIX closed up 0.85% at 1,380.41
In London, Randgold Resources (GOLD - Get Report) CEO Mark Bristow described 2015 as one of the best years in the company's history in fourth-quarter results on Monday, pushing up the share price of the South African gold miner by 2.92% to 5,455 pence on the London market. The company said production had set a new record of more than 1.2 million ounces, up 6% on the previous year, while costs per ounce had been cut by 3%. Profit for the year was down 24% at $212.8 million, reflecting the decline in the gold price, but the board proposed a 10% increase in the dividend to $0.66 a share.
Other miners, including Glencore (GLNCY) , Rio Tinto (RIO) , BHP Billiton (BHP) and Anglo American (AAUKF) also rose, topping the leader-board for the resources-heavy FTSE 100. Yet, like other European indices, the London index failed to hold opening gains, spooked by fears for global growth.
The biggest faller on the top-companies index was chipmaker ARM Holdings (ARMH) , down 4.83% to 935.50 pence, hit by the fallout from a profit warning from its much smaller peer Imagination Technologies Group. Imagination announced the departure of its CEO Hossain Yassaie with immediate effect, and detailed restructuring initiatives including putting its consumer electronics business Pure up for sale and a reduction of operating costs over the coming year. It said the slowdown in the semiconductor sector has continued, reinforced by global uncertainty about future trading prospects with China.
Imagination said it believed there were "potentially more appropriate owners for Pure, given the economies of scale in the consumer electronics market, who will be able to leverage its leading technologies and brand."
French oil company Total (TOT) was down 2.29% at 38.02 despite -- or perhaps because of -- its announcement that production has started at its natural gas field Laggan Tormore in deep water West of the Shetland Islands. The huge field is expected to provide gas to some two million households in the U.K. or about 8% of the country's energy needs, but falling gas prices could make it less economically exciting than previously hoped.
It wasn't all bad news. In France, business sentiment for the manufacturing sector was unexpectedly positive. The Banque de France index registered 101 in January, at an almost five-year high.