European shares tumbled on Thursday as relief from the Bank of England’s bond buy-back plan to soothe distressed markets fizzled out, while grim inflation data from Germany fed fears about soaring prices and aggressive central bank moves.
The continent-wide STOXX 600 index fell 1.7%, after ending higher on Wednesday, as investors fretted about the prospects of a global economic downturn, with a slew of retailers in the region warning about the impact of a cost-of-living crisis on their business.
Nearly all STOXX sectors were in the red, with retailers sliding 4.4% as the world’s second-biggest fashion chain, H&M, fell 5.9% after weaker-than-expected profits, while Next fell 12.2% after cutting its sales and profit forecasts.
The disappointing corporate updates magnified investor worries about a hit to earnings growth at a time when Europe is grappling with an energy crisis and central banks are tightening financial conditions to quell runaway inflation.
“I think the market is giving up some of the gains that happened yesterday that were just unwarranted,” said Patrick Armstrong, chief investment officer at Plurimi Wealth in London.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a big change on the macro picture. But as valuations get cheaper and cheaper, that will attract value and bargain hunters.”
The STOXX 600 index has declined in 11 of the last 13 sessions, shaving more than 10% of its value in that time.
Germany’s DAX index was down 1.7% as data showed inflation in Europe’s largest economy jumped by more than expected in September to a 10.9% rise on the year – its highest level in more than 25 years, driven by higher energy prices.
The data strengthened the case for another 75 basis point hike from the European Central Bank.
Meanwhile, UK gilt yields resumed their rise after British Minister Liz Truss defended her controversial economic growth plan including unfunded tax cuts that unleashed havoc on financial markets after it was introduced last week. [GB/]
London’s FTSE 100 fell 1.8%, while the mid-caps index plunged 3.1%. [.L]
Separate data on Thursday showed euro zone economic sentiment fell sharply and by more than expected in September, with companies and consumers expecting higher inflation and a deteriorating financial situation.
“Consumer confidence is plummeting, while prices are rising. High energy prices are going to be a big impact for discretionary spending,” Armstrong said.
Luxury stocks on the STOXX 600 were in the red with LVMH down 0.9%.
Volkswagen and Porsche SE slumped as investors switched to Porsche AG shares, which made a strong debut, peaking at 86.76 euros.