Europe ends 3.2% down as oil slides; Seadrill slips 29% – US crude slides below $27

20.01.2016 20:26

Europe ends 3.2% down as oil slides; Seadrill slips 29%

Alexandra Gibbs | Jenny Cosgrave

European stocks tumbled late in Wednesday’s session to close sharply lower as a sharp drop in oil prices added pressure to equities in all sectors, with banking, commodity and insurance stocks suffering the most.

FTSE FTSE 100 Index 5673.58
-203.22 -3.46% 1067064338
DAX DAX Index 9391.64
-272.57 -2.82% 138206228
CAC 40 CAC 40 Index 4124.95
-147.31 -3.45% 160901155
IBEX 35 IBEX 35 Idx 8281.40
-273.50 -3.20% 371165563

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended deep in the red, off 3.2 percent provisionally, as sharp losses in U.S. markets added pressure to European stocks.

London’s FTSE finished off some 3.5 percent, with the index having entered “bear market” territory during Wednesday’s trade after it fell more than 20 percent from its records highs in April.

France’s CAC slipped some 3.4 percent, while Germany’s DAX slid 2.8 percent.

Europe’s main movers

Once again, miners bore the brunt of the selling with the sector being Europe’s worst performer, off 5.4 percent, as Anglo American, BHP Billiton and ArcelorMittal all slid more than 7 percent. This follows gains of as much as 11 percent in the previous session. Glencore was the worst performing miner, ending down almost 10 percent.

Mining and commodity firms have been among the most volatile in markets, as the slide in oil prices and fears around the strength and stability of the Chinese economy have gripped markets.

Banks continued to see downward pressure, with Italian banks weighing down the sector as liquidity concerns surfaced after Italy’sBanca Monte dei Paschi de Siena (BMPS) said some customers had been pulling savings out, according to Reuters. BMPS slumped over 22 percent by the close, with Banco Popolare and Unicredit ending sharply down 10.9 and 7.8 percent respectively.

The sharp losses in the banking sector come on the eve of theEuropean Central Bank’s policy meeting this Thursday, where analysts expect no major policy changes.

US crude slides below $27

Asian stocks slid Wednesday, with major indexes declining by more than 1 percent each, as global sentiment remained low on concerns over economic growth, China and low oil prices. Japanese stocks took the brunt of the selling, with the Nikkei falling close to 4 percent, entering bear market territory as it has fallen more than 20 percent from its peak in June last year.

Crude futures crumbled during Wednesday’s trade, with U.S. crude falling to its lowest since 2003 hovering around $27 a barrel as bearish financial news sparked deeper worries over demand and a global supply glut. This follows the IEA’s warning on Tuesday which said oil markets could “drown in oversupply”.

U.S. crude last stood over 5 percent down at $26.90 while Brenthovered around $27.54 per barrel. Oil stocks tumbled on the back of this, with Seadrill tanking 29 percent, and Tullow Oil off over 7 percent.

Royal Dutch Shell said its profit fell by as much as 50 percent in the last quarter of last year, compared to the same time in 2014 as a result of the collapse in oil prices. Shares in the oil major fell 7 percent.

Overnight, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global growth forecast for 2016 to 3.4 percent, from 3.6 percent. The organization cited slower growth in emerging markets, especially in China, falling commodity prices, and rising interest rates in the U.S. as potential risks to global growth.

On top of this, the MSCI All-Country World Index, which measures all major developed and emerging markets, fell into a bear market Wednesday, with its decline from early last year now totaling more than 20 percent.

Out of the dozen stocks closing in positive territory, U.K. retailer WH Smith was the STOXX 600’s top performer, ending up 5.8 percent, after the company said it expected its full-year profit to be slightly above expectations, following a positive Christmas sales season.

Spot gold prices ticked higher on Wednesday which gave a boost toRandgold, with shares ending up 3.5 percent.

Swiss insurer Zurich saw its shares tank almost 11 percent after the firm issued a profit warning as it anticipates its general insurance business to post an operating loss of around $100 million for the fourth quarter of 2015, mainly due to catastrophe claims. The news dragged down other insurance players, including Prudential, off over 5 percent.

Several luxury brands tumbled as China concerns continued to weigh, with Dior, Pandora and LVMH all off 3.5 percent or more.

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