August 5, 2011 / 8:06 AM / 8 years ago

European shares hit 14-month low on growth scare

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1.4 pct

* Investors sell shares on growth worries, debt fears

* Charts show shares fall into “bear market” territory

* Banks, autos, miners in retreat

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) - European shares plunged to 14-month lows on Friday following a global sell-off on growing concerns the U.S. economy could be heading towards another recession and on jitters Italy and Spain could be the next casualty of the euro zone debt crisis.

Miners featured among the top decliners on worries a slowing global economy would severely hurt demand for key raw materials. The European sector index fell 2.3 percent, while global miner BHP Billiton fell 1.8 percent.

At 0753 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 1.4 percent at 978.50 points after touching 961.45, the lowest since May of 2010. The index, down for a sixth straight session, has fallen nearly 10 percent this week and is down about 13 percent so for this year.

“The economic outlook is stressing investors to a great degree and sentiment is likely to remain extremely fragile,” said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The U.S. economy has been slowing and is moving into a phase where we are going to see spending cuts enforced. Investors are concerned as to where future growth will come from with this backdrop of debt for so many governments.”

Investors stayed nervous ahead of widely-watched U.S. monthly non-farm payrolls data as well as the U.S. unemployment rate, due at 1230 GMT, which could provide hints about the extent of the damage in the labour market following a string of bleak macroeconomic data.

Economists see payrolls up by 85,000, according to a Reuters survey, after a tepid 18,000 gain in June. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 9.2 percent.

Automobile shares, which have outperformed the broader market this year, also fell sharply on concerns about weaker sales for vehicles. The sector index fell 1.6 percent, while Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) dropped 4.4 percent.

Charts painted a bleak picture after the Euro zone’s blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell to two-year lows on Friday. It was last down 0.4 percent at 2,402.64 points.

Technical analysts said the index’s retreat from the top amounted to more than 21 percent, putting the index firmly into a bear-market territory.

“At current levels, the index has retraced fully 50 percent of the rally that began in March 2009. If this level fails to hold, which now seems likely, the implication is that it is heading for a 61.8 percent retracement of that move, giving us a near-term downside target of around 2,263,” said Bill McNamara, technical analyst at Charles Stanley.

Banks, which suffer in difficult economic environment, also lost ground. European banks , which have been under pressure this year due to their heavy exposure to peripheral euro zone countries, fell 0.7 percent on worries the euro zone debt crisis was spreading.

Royal Bank of Scotland crashed 6 percent after it posted a loss after taking a big hit on Greek bonds, while UK rivals Barclays and Lloyds slumped 7.7 percent and 7 percent respectively.

“What we have seen over the last couple of days is a realisation by investors that we still face some massive structural challenges in Europe and the Unites States and that throwing money at it, bailing out and buying bonds etc., will not fix these,” said Darren Sinden, senior sales trader at Silverwind Securities.

============================================================ For rolling updates on what is moving European shares please click on ============================================================ For pan-Europeanmarket data and news, click on codes in brackets: European Equities speed guide................... FTSEurofirst 300 index.............................. STOXX Europe index.................................. Top 10 STOXX sectors........................... Top 10 EUROSTOXX sectors...................... Top 10 Eurofirst 300 sectors................... Top 25 European pct gainers....................... Top 25 European pct losers........................

Main stock markets: Dow Jones............... Wall Street report ..... Nikkei 225............. Tokyo report............ FTSE 100............... London report........... Xetra DAX............. CAC-40............... World Indices.....................................<0#.INDEX> Reuters survey of world bourse outlook......... Western European IPO diary......................... European Asset Allocation........................ Reuters News at a Glance: Equities................. Main currency report:................................. (Editing by David Cowell)

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below