April 9, 2018 / 7:32 AM / 7 months ago

Russian sanctions dent European share recovery

LONDON (Reuters) - Further U.S. sanctions on Russian interests hit Europe-listed stocks on Monday, denting a recovery as investors became more hopeful a trade war between the United States and China could be averted.

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended the day up just 0.1 percent as sanctions that included a blacklisting of aluminum giant Rusal sent mining stocks spiraling lower.

Resilience among financials stocks was just enough to keep the market in positive territory.

Basic resources stocks .SXPP sank 1.7 percent, as a sector that has already seen sharp declines as a result of trade tensions hit its lowest level in four months.

“Everything gets sold off in this environment,” said John Meyer, mining analyst at SP Angel. “The U.S. list may not be the final list and it feels like there will be more sanctions so investors do not know which, if any, stocks to hold.”

Stocks linked to allies of President Vladimir Putin suffered sharp declines.

London-listed shares in En+ Group (ENPLq.L), which manages the assets of Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, sank 42 percent after the U.S. sanctions blacklist targeted the magnate whose business empire has a global footprint.

The stock has lost more than half its value since Friday’s open, with management saying the sanctions were “highly likely” to materially affect the business and prospects in an adverse way.

Shares in Swiss pump maker Sulzer (SUN.S) and technology group Oerlikon (OERL.S) were also sharply down, falling 8.5 percent and 8.4 percent respectively after their majority holder Viktor Vekselberg appeared on the sanctions list.

Companies with significant operations in Russia were also punished. Precious metals miner Polymetal (POLYP.L) sank 18 percent, the worst STOXX faller, while Raiffeisen Bank (RBIV.VI) tumbled 12 percent.

Shares in Carlsberg (CARLb.CO), which sells a lot of its beer in Russia and is sensitive to the rouble, significantly lagged beverage sector peers. They declined 1.1 percent as the currency suffered its biggest one-day fall in three years.

Aluminum maker Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL) benefited from sanctions hitting rival Rusal (0486.HK) (RUAL.MM).

The Norwegian company’s shares shot up 6.6 percent to the top of the European index as traders said there was a positive read across. Miner Rio Tinto (RIO.L) was also seen as a beneficiary, and its shares rose 1.1 percent.

Overall, investors were more positive on the potential for stocks to recover, looking ahead to the start of the first-quarter earnings season as a likely positive catalyst.

“Equities are looking over sold just as a very strong reporting season is beginning,” wrote JP Morgan analysts. “Global earnings delivery plus U.S. buybacks could catalyze recovery.”

Financial stocks provided the most support to the market with Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) up 1.2 percent after it named a new CEO who said tough decisions would have to be made and the structure of its investment bank reviewed.

Portuguese energy and utility group EDP (EDP.LS) gained 3.8 percent after a report French utility Engie (ENGIE.PA) was examining a possible bid.

Also on the M&A front, Novartis (NOVN.S) ended the day down 0.1 percent, giving up earlier gains after announcing a $8.7 billion deal for AveXis AVXS.O, a move into gene therapy that gives the Swiss drugmaker a rare-disease treatment seen reaping billions in sales and bolsters its technology base.

Billerud Korsnas (BILL.ST) fell 7.8 percent after a downgrade to “sell” from an SEB analyst.

Reporting by Julien Ponthus and Helen Reid; Editing by Toby Chopra and John Stonestreet

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