European shares knocked down by falls at EDF and banks
EUROPEAN shares fell further below last week’s three-month high on Monday, as a slump in French utility EDF and weaker banking stocks pushed the market lower.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which hit a three-month peak last week, fell 0.6 percent to 1,364.13 points. The biggest decline on the FTSEurofirst was EDF’s 11.1 percent loss. The French utility has delayed a decision on its Hinkley Point nuclear project. It also secured a state-backed financing package, but this put pressure on the shares.
Major banks such as Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank also slid lower, with analysts expecting a weak set of first-quarter earnings from many of them. Philips also fell 4.3 percent after its first-quarter results. Profit beat expectations, but Philips said it was likely to spin off its lighting division in an initial public offering. That disappointed some investors, who had been hoping the Dutch medical equipment and services company might be able to sell the unit. Mining stocks also fell, with Anglo American and BHP Billiton dropping 7.3 percent and 5.8 percent respectively, as the price of copper weakened.
Oil and gas shares also weakened, as crude prices pulled back after a strong three-week run.The FTSEurofirst 300 index remains down by around 5 percent since the start of 2016. —Reuters
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