European shares down, Spain's IBEX slips on LatAm concerns

Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:42am EST

Related Topics

* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.5 pct, heads for weekly loss

* Spain's IBEX down 1.7 pct on exposure to Latin America

* Aberdeen Asset Management drops 5.1 pct, top faller

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - European shares slipped to a one-week low on Friday, with stocks exposed to emerging markets hit by a rout in Latin American currencies and banks losing ground on concerns about their earnings outlook.

Aberdeen Asset Management, which invests in emerging markets, fell 5.1 percent after Argentina's central bank abandoned its policy of supporting its currency by intervening in the foreign exchange market.

The currency crisis in Argentina put pressure on Spanish stocks, with the country's benchmark IBEX index falling 1.7 percent to underperform the wider European market.

"We are seeing widening deficits in the whole of Latin America and Spain is much more exposed to that than any other European country," said James Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts.

The Spanish stock market dragged down the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which fell 0.5 percent to 1,326.20 points to a one-week low by 0913 GMT.

Friday's losses for the index were on the top of a more-than 1 percent decline in the previous session and placed it on track to post its biggest weekly decline since mid-December.

Concerns about the fourth-quarter earnings season have kept investors cautious. Sentiment worsened after weaker-than-expected sales from Starbucks and an earnings miss from McDonald's overnight, underscoring the still fragile health of the global economy and consumers.

In Europe, Finnish pulp and paper company Stora Enso said it plans to shut down a paper-making machine due to weak demand for magazines. Its shares fell 0.8 percent.

"We are not having high expectations from this earnings season. It is not likely to be spectacular," said Ronny Claeys, senior strategist at KBC Asset Management.

"Investors are looking for some guidance from companies for 2014 and that's going to be very crucial for the market."

STOXX Europe 600 companies are on average seen missing consensus quarterly earnings forecasts by 2.4 percent according to Thomson Reuters StarMine SmartEstimates, which focus on the up-to-date predictions of the historically most accurate analysts.

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