Kering and BASF fall as European shares slip back

Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:12pm IST

* Luxury goods group Kering falls after lower Gucci sales

* Volvo surges after surprise rise in core earnings

* Euro zone bank shares rise ahead of ECB "stress test"

* FTSEurofirst 300 closes down 0.3 pct at 1,312.74 points

* Some say concerns about New York Ebola case overdone

* FTSEurofirst has best weekly gain since December 2013

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Shares in luxury goods group Kering and chemicals company BASF fell on Friday after business updates, while new worries about the Ebola virus also weighed on European stock markets.

Kering slumped 5.1 percent, making it the worst-performing stock on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index after sales fell at its Gucci brand.

Chemicals company BASF also declined by 3.2 percent after cutting its 2015 earnings forecast on weak demand in its European home markets.

The declines in the two companies, coupled with new worries over Ebola, contributed to send the FTSEurofirst 300 lower, with the index closing down by 0.3 percent at 1,312.74 points.

The latest Ebola concerns arose after news that a New York City doctor who treated Ebola patients in West Africa had become the first person to test positive for the virus in the U.S. financial hub.

Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, told Reuters Insider Television that one of the problems about Ebola was that investors still could not quantify the kind of impact it might have on the world economy.

"People have no idea how to price it," said Rundle. (reut.rs/103vt9h)

Others felt the Ebola worries might be exaggerated.

"I think the fears are a bit overdone. In previous cases, such as avian flu, the virus ended up being contained quite quickly," said Caroline Vincent, European equities fund manager at Cavendish Asset Management.

VOLVO AND MONTE PASCHI SURGE

The euro zone's banking index rose by 0.7 percent as investors bet that a weekend update on the sector's financial health from the European Central Bank would not reveal too many problems at the region's top banks.

Twenty-five banks failed the European stress tests, while up to 10 of those continue to have a capital shortfall, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday, but traders said they nevertheless expected the region's biggest banks to pass.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena shares jumped 10.7 percent as traders said the bailed-out Italian lender could pass the health checks relatively unscathed.

Global truck maker Volvo also outpaced the broader stock market downturn, surging 7.1 percent after a surprise rise in core earnings.

Despite Friday's pullback, the FTSEurofirst 300 index chalked up gains of 2.5 percent over the week - marking its best weekly rise since December 2013.

Nevertheless, many investors have continued slashing exposure to European equities, which have been knocked back over the last month by weak European economic data.

U.S.-based funds invested in European shares saw outflows for a third straight week, according to Lipper data.

A Lipper survey of 109 U.S.-domiciled funds investing in European shares, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs), showed redemptions of $958 million in the seven days to Oct. 22, adding to the record weekly outflows of $1.33 billion from last week.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today's European research round-up (Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson, Francesco Canepa and Stephen Jewkes, editing by Mark Heinrich)

 
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