European stocks fall, euro hits new dollar-low

GMT 15:18 2014 Monday ,29 September

Arab Today, arab today European stocks fall, euro hits new dollar-low

German stock market Index
London - AFP

 European stock markets fell on Monday and the euro struck the lowest level against the dollar for almost two years, mirroring a poor start to the week in Asia.
Hong Kong shares tumbled 1.90 percent on Monday -- with banks and retailers hit hard -- following weekend clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police, while parts of the financial hub remained closed down.
Banks led the losers board in Europe, where London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.15 percent at 6,639.40 points around midday in the British capital.
Frankfurt's DAX slipped 0.21 percent to 9,471.03 points and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.36 percent to stand at 4,378.91 compared with Friday's closing level.
Madrid's IBEX 35 shed 0.87 percent to 10,757 points.
In foreign exchange, the European single currency slumped to $1.2664 to record its lowest level since November 2012. It later pulled back to $1.2701, up from $1.2683 late in New York on Friday.
The euro is coming under pressure from concerns about weak eurozone growth, while the dollar is benefiting from US Federal Reserve plans to bring to a stop its stimulus programme in October as well as investors betting on US rate hikes occurring soon.
- Volatile trading -
Business and consumer confidence in the eurozone slipped again in September, official figures showed on Monday, adding further gloom to the outlook following other recent weak data.
"The increased (trading) volatility... looks set to continue, as European traders settle in with news of mass protests in Hong Kong destabilising Asian confidence and knocking stocks," said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG trading group.
"The ensuing chaos has seen (Asia-focused bank) Standard Chartered drop."
The lender was down 1.62 percent at 1,155 pence in London deals. Another Asia-focused lender, HSBC, shed 1.63 percent to 639.6 pence, while BNP Paribas dropped 1.25 percent to 52.17 euros and Santander gave up 1.19 percent to 7.62 euros.
The ranks of Hong Kong democracy protesters who have paralysed parts of the city swelled into their tens of thousands Monday, digging in for another night of confrontation with police in their campaign for free elections.
In the worst unrest since the former British colony was handed back to China in 1997, demonstrators fought hours of running battles with police Sunday night, choking on clouds of tear gas as officers attempted to suppress the crowds.
- Profit-warning -
Elsewhere on Monday, shares in British infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty slumped by more than a fifth after the latest in a series of profit warnings this year issued by the embattled group.
The company announced in a dire trading update that its British construction arm suffered another profit shortfall of about £75 million ($122 million, 96 million euros).
Balfour Beatty's shares collapsed 20.35 percent to 179.12 pence on London's second-tier FTSE 250 index, which was down 0.14 percent at 15,362.67 points around 1100 GMT.
That gave the group a market capitalisation of about £1.23 billion.
The news came one month after Balfour Beatty rejected a £2.0-billion takeover offer from smaller rival Carillion.
In foreign exchange meanwhile, the euro rose against the British pound, to 78.21 pence from 78.03 on Friday. The pound slipped to $1.6237 from $1.6252.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold gained to $1,218.81 an ounce from $1,213.75 on Friday.


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