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European Equities: A Week in Review – 29/02/20

Bob Mason

The Majors

It was a week to forget for the European majors and beyond.

Market reaction to the continued spread of the coronavirus drove demand for safe havens in the week.

For the DAX30, it was 7 consecutive day in the red, sinking the German Boerse into corrective territory in the week. It was even more dramatic for the EuroStoxx600, which fell from an all-time-high 433.9 on 19th February into corrective territory, with a 10% loss coming in just 6 trading sessions.

So, looking at the numbers, the DAX30 ended the week down by 12.44% to lead the way. The CAC40 and EuroStoxx600 weren’t far behind with losses of 11.94% and 12.25% respectively. Heavy losses on Friday just added salt into the wounds, with the majors not only in corrective territory but also in the deep red for February.

The CAC40 fell by 8.55% in February, with the DAX30 and EuroStoxx600 sliding by 8.41% and by 8.54% respectively.

We aren’t in bear territory yet, but we could be should economic data begin to spook investors alongside the coronavirus.

The Stats

It was a relatively busy week on the Eurozone economic calendar.

Through the 1st half of the week, key stats included German business sentiment figures and 2nd estimate GDP numbers for the 4th quarter.

Business sentiment improved in February, with the IFO Business Climate Index rising from 96.0 to 96.1. The upside came off the back of a pickup in business optimism that was partially offset by negative sentiment towards the current state of the economy.

Interestingly, the figures failed to reflect any negative bias stemming from the spread of the coronavirus. The timing of the survey likely failed to capture the spread across Europe and the U.S.

Germany’s GDP numbers were in line with 1st estimates, affirming the stall in the economy in the 4th quarter. Not great with what’s on the horizon…

Later in the week, French consumer spending and 2nd estimate GDP numbers and German unemployment figures were in focus on Friday.

A slide in consumer spending in January will be yet one more concern for the ECB. It wasn’t all bad, however, with Germany’s labor market resilient at the turn of the year.

On the monetary policy front, ECB President Lagarde was of the view that the spread of the virus had yet to have enough of an impact on inflation to warrant monetary policy support. Next week’s stats could change that narrative…

The Market Movers

From the DAX, it was a bearish week for the auto sector. Daimler and Volkswagen led the way down, with weekly losses of 11.62% and 10.67% respectively. BMW and Continental weren’t far behind, with losses of 9.37% and 9.42% respectively.

It was a particularly bearish week for the banking sector, with Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank tumbling by 16.88% and 20.09% respectively.

From the CAC, things were not much better for the banks. BNP Paribas slumped by 17.74%, while Credit Agricole and Soc Gen seeing losses of 17.73% and by 17.64% respectively.

The French auto sector took a more modest hit, with Renault and Peugeot sliding by 16.35% and 8.57% respectively.

Travel and tourism stocks were worse hit, however. Germany’s Lufthansa tumbled by 21.17%, with Air France-KLM ending the week down by 23.90%.

On the VIX Index

The VIX rose by 2.43% on Friday. Following on from a 42.09% surge on Thursday, the VIX ended the week up by a whopping 134.84%.

Risk aversion plagued the global financial markets driving the VIX to its highest level since hitting 50.3 back in February 2018. On Friday, the VIX had hit a week high 49.5 before easing back.

Updates of the spread of the coronavirus led the U.S equity markets into corrective territory and the largest weekly slide since the Global Financial Crisis.

For the week, the S&P500 slid by 11.49%.

The Week Ahead

It’s another busy week ahead on the Eurozone economic calendar. Through the first half of the week, private sector PMI numbers are due out of Italy and Spain. Finalized numbers are also due out of France, Germany, and the Eurozone.

Expect Italy’s manufacturing PMI on Monday and the Eurozone’s composite on Wednesday to have the greatest influence. There could be revisions to German and French numbers to look out for, however.

On Wednesday, German and Eurozone retail sales figures will also be in focus ahead of German factory orders on Friday.

The markets will be looking for some indication of what impact the coronavirus has had on the economy. February and March numbers will be a better guide.

From elsewhere,

Private sector PMI numbers out of China and the U.S in the 1st half of the week will also influence. Expect manufacturing PMI numbers out of China from the weekend and on Monday to have a greater impact, however.

It will ultimately boil down to updates on the coronavirus, however. The next big risk to the market is for the WHO to announce the coronavirus as a pandemic and for more cases in the U.S…

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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