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European shares slide as oil prices extend drop
January 26, 2016 / 9:37 AM / 2 years ago

European shares slide as oil prices extend drop

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 9 percent in year-to-date

* Oil stocks down as crude dips below $30

* Philips and Siemens up as results beat forecasts (Adds quotes, details)

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Jan 26 (Reuters) - European shares fell sharply on Tuesday, extending the previous session’s losses on concerns over global economic growth and another drop in oil prices below $30 a barrel.

By 0909 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down 1.5 percent, after falling 0.7 percent on Monday, while the euro zone’s blue chip Euro Stoxx 50 index was also down 1.2 percent.

Global stocks have had a rocky start to the year due to concerns over slowing growth in China and plunging crude prices, and with investors struggling to find safe haven investments.

There was a brief reversal in the selloff last week when European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi hinted at more stimulus, but worries have resurfaced over the central bank’s ability to prop up the economy.

“There is massive doubt if any ECB action will be able not only to boost growth but also fight disinflation with both a slowing economy in China and lower oil prices likely to lead inflation even lower,” City of London trader Markus Huber said.

However, Huber said it needed to be seen whether the latest selloff is indeed the onset of another major stock slump or just profit-taking in light of last week’s impressive gains.

The FTSEurofirst 300 is down more than 9 percent since the start of the year.

The fresh slide in oil prices pushed energy sector stocks down 1.8 percent, making them the second-biggest sectoral loser with companies such as BP, Total and Eni all down by between 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent.

Banks fell 1.2 percent, weighed down by the oil price slump, concerns over margin pressure and uncertainty over how to tackle the continued rise in Italy’s bad loans.

“The banking sector is under pressure across Europe and the US, still feeling the impact of the oil and commodities slump,” said Stefan Fabiani, asset manager at Zenit SGR.

Among the few gainers, shares in Siemens rose almost 6 percent after Europe’s biggest industrial group raised its full-year earnings forecast on strong first-quarter results.

“We were most surprised by the strength in Healthcare with 8 percent order and 11 percent organic sales growth, while the slowdown in the short-cycle Digital Factory impacted margins as expected,” wrote Barclays, which rates Siemens “underweight”.

Philips stood out with a gain of 6.8 percent after the Dutch maker of LED lights and medical scanners on Tuesday reported core fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations but issued a cautious outlook for 2016.

Barclays said the results were the best ones in a long time, but the outlook was “rather subdued”.

Today’s European research round-up RCH/EUROPE (Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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