Mining Stocks and Industrials Drag Amid Ongoing Chinese Concerns
LONDON -- European equity markets have been trading lower Wednesday, though driven by a broader consolidation and respite rather than any fundamental catalyst. Mining and industrial companies -- heavily weighted in the key benchmark indexes, particularly in the U.K. -- have been generally adding pressure as concerns over Chinese growth prospects and demand for commodities push prices. The German DAX (INDEX: ^GDAXI) is one of the weaker indexes on the continent today, down 0.7%.
As always, the following price moves are based on this morning's European trading.
Last week, soft Chinese trade data brought about a flurry of worries in the commodity markets that demand from the Asian giant and its potential growth prospects could be faltering. Although more buoyant news in recent weeks has built hope that the Chinese government will begin to undertake measures to stimulate its economy, this key concern has once again come to the fore on a day where there is little news to offer direction.
While most of the large mining names have been suffering in London, Eurasian Natural Resources (NASDAQOTH: EURNY.PK) is one of the worst performers today after it released weaker-than-expected earnings today. The company's shares are down almost 7% after it reported first-half pre-tax profit more than halving to $667 million on the back of softer commodity prices and a challenging economic environment -- results that are having a knock-on impact throughout the sector.
In a similar vein, steelmaker ArcelorMittal (NYS: MT) is down almost 3% in Luxembourg, hit by concerns over growth prospects following news yesterday that the economy of Kazakhstan -- a country where Arcelor has a number of large operations -- expanded at the slowest pace since 2009. This exacerbated fears that industrial production in key Euro-Asian countries may be slowing.
On a more positive note, and away from the industrial majors, Finnish phone maker Nokia (NYS: NOK) is yet again one of the biggest movers on the continent, having peaked nearly 7% higher and now up 3.8% after chief executive Stephen Elop said the company will launch its new smartphone soon. This has increased speculation that the phone, which will use the Windows 8 operating system, will be launched at a trade fair early next month, beating rival Apple to its launch of an updated iPhone on Sept. 12.
Elsewhere, Telekom Austria (NASDAQOTH: TKAGY.PK) is up more than 2% after it said it received a 735 million euro credit line to refinance. The company said this will replace the 713 million euro facility that is due to expire in August, with this new facility being led by Citigroup and UniCredit for the company's finance unit, Telekom Finanzmanagement.
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